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D DDD1 itS>43fl35 










as in far (far). 
fat (fat). 
fate (fat). 
fall (fawl). 
fair (far). 


her (hSr). 



bit (bit). 
bite (bit). 

o as 


in not (not), 
no (no), 
north (north), 
food (food). 




bull (bul). 
sun (sun), 
muse (muz). 

on bout (bout), 
oi join (join). 

A dot placed over a, e, o, or u (a, e, 6, u,) signifies that the vowel has an obscure, indeter- 
minate, or slurred sound, as in : 

advice (ad-vis'), current (kur'ent), notion (no'shon). 


"s" is used only for the sibilant "s" (as in "toast," tost,) the sonant "s" (as in "toes" is 
printed "z" (toz). N 

"c" (except in the combinations "ch" and "c/z"), "q," and "x" are not used. 

b, d f, h (see the combinations below), k, 1, m, n (see n below), p, r, t, v, z, and w and y 
when used as consonants, have their usual values. 

ch as in church (cherch). 
ch loch (loc/i). 


get (get) 
join (join). 

white (hwit). 

n as in cabochon (ka-bo-cho/O. 

sh shawl (shawl). 

zh measure (mezh'ur). 

th thin (thin). 
th thine (Min). 

The accent (0 follows the syllable to be stressed. . 

A. The form of this letter is modified from 
the Egyptian hieroglyph which represents the 
eagle. The Phoenician (Hebrew) symbol was 
N (alepha.n ox), which has been thought, 
probably erroneously, to represent an ox-head 
in outline. The Greek A (alpha) was the 
symbol of a bad augury in the sacrifices. See 

A m logic denotes a universal affirmative. 
A asserts, E denies. Thus, syllogisms mbfij-bArA 
(<7.v.) contain three universal affirmative pro- 

Al means first-rate the very best. In 
Lloycr's Register of British and Foreign Ship- 
ping, the character of the ship's hull is desig- 
nated by letters, and that of the anchors, 
cables, and stores by figures. Al means hull 
first-i ate, and also anchors, cables, and stores; 
A2, hull first-rate, but fittings second-rate. 
Vessels of an inferior character are classified 
under the letters ^E, E, and I. 

Aaron (ar on). t The name of the patriarch of 
the Jewish priesthood, possibly connected 
with haaron, " the ark." 

Aaron's Beard. The popular name of many 
wild plants, including Great St. John's Wort 
(Rose of Sharon), the Ivy-leaved Toadflax, 
Meadowsweet, Saxifrage Sarmentosa, etc. 

Aaron's Rod. The name given (with refer- 
ence to Num. xvii, 8) to various flowering 
plants, including Golden Rod, Great Mullein, 
and others. 

Aaron's serpent. Something so powerful 
as to eliminate minor powers. 

And hence one master passion in the breast, 
Like Aaron's serpent swallows up the rest. 

POPE: Essay on Man, ii, 131. 

The allusion is to Exod. vii, 10-12. 

Aback. This was originally a nautical term 
used when a gust of wind forced the sails back 
against the mast and suddenly stayed the 
ship's progress. From this comes the phrase 
"I was taken aback,** meaning "I was 
astounded, taken by surprise." 

Abacus (ab' a kus). A primitive calculating 
machine, consisting of a small frame with 
wires stretched across it in one direction, each 
wire having threaded on 
it ten balls which can be 
shifted backwards or 
forwards. It is used to 
teach children addition 
and subtraction and 
was employed by the 
Greeks and Romans for 
calculations, as a modification of it was used 
to a much later date by the Chinese. The 
word is derived from the Greek, aj8o, a 
cyphering table (a slab covered with sand). 


The multiplication table invented by Pytha- 
goras is called Abacus Pythagoricus. 

In architecture the abacus is the topmost 
member of a capital. 

Abaddon (a bad' on). The angel of the bot- 
tomless pit (Rev. ix, 11), from Heb. abad, he 

Milton uses the name for the bottomless pit 

In all her gates Abaddon rues 
Thy bold attempt. 

Paradise Regained, iv, 624. 

Abaris (ab' a ris). A mythical Greek sage of 
the 6th century B.C. (surnamed "the Hyper- 
borean"") mentioned by Herodotus, Pindar, 
etc. Apollo gave him a magic arrow which 
rendered him invisible, cured diseases, gave 
oracles, and on which he could ride through 
the air. Abans gave it to Pythagoras, who, 
in return, taught him philosophy. Hence the 
dart of Abaris. 

Abatement (O.Fr. batre, to beat down). In 
heraldry, a mark of depreciation annexed to 
coat armour, whereby the honour of it is 

Abaton (ab' a ton) (Gr. a, not; j3cuVa>, I go). 
As inaccessible as Abaton. A name given to 
various places of antiquity difficult of access. 

Abbassides (ab' a sldz). A dynasty of thirty- 
seven caliphs who reigned over the Moham- 
medan Empire from 750 to 1258. They were 
descended from Abbas, uncle of Mohammed. 
Haroun al-Raschid (born 765, reigned 786- 
808), of the Arabian Nights, was one of their 

Abbot of Misrule. See KING OF MISRULE. 

Abbotsford. The name given by Sir Walter 
Scott to Clarty Hole, on the south bank of the 
Tweed, after it became his residence in 1812. 
Sir Walter devised it from the fancy that the 
abbots of Melrose Abbey used to pass over 
the ford of the Tweed near by. 

ABC. An abbreviation having a number of 
meanings that can be decided only by the 
context. Thus, "So-and-so doesn't know his 
ABC" means that he. is intensely ignorant: 
"he doesn't understand the A B C of engineer- 
ing" means that he has not mastered its 
rudiments. So, an ABC Book, or Absey 
Book, is a primer which used to be used as a 
child's first lesson book and contained merely 
the alphabet and "a few rudimentary lessons 
often set in catechism form, as is evident from 
Shakespeare's lines: 

That is question now; 

And then comes answer .like an Absey book. 
King John, j, 1. 

Abd in Arabic^ slave or servant, as Abdiel 
fa.v.) and Abd- All ah (servant of God), Abd-el- 
Kader (servant of the Mighty One), Abd-ul- 
Latif (servant of the Gracious One), etc. 

Abdallah (Sb dal' a). The father of Moham- 
med. He died shortly before his famous son. 


Abou Hassan 

was born, and is said to have been so beautiful 
that when he married Amina, 200 virgins 
broke their hearts from disappointed love 
See Washington living's Life of Mahomet. 

Abdals (ab' dalz). The name given by Mo- 
hammedans to certain mysterious persons 
whose identity is known only to God, and 
through whom the world is able to continue 
in existence. \Vhen one of them dies another 
is secretly appointed by God to fill the vacant 

Abdera (ab der' a). A maritime town of 
Thrace (said to have been founded by Abdera, 
sister of Diomede), so overrun with rats that 
it was abandoned, and the inhabitants 
migrated to Macedonia. The Abdentes, or 
Abderitans, were proverbial for stupidity, yet 
the city gave birth to some of the wisest men 
of Greece, among them being Democritus 
(the laughing philosopher, from whom we 
get the phrases Abderitan laughter, meaning 
"scoffing laughter," and an Abderite, or 
"scoffer"), Protagoras (the great sophist), 
Anaxarchos (the philosopher and friend of 
Alexander), and Hecatseus (the historian). 
Abdiel (aV del) (Arab., the servant of God; 
cf. ABD). In Milton's Paradise Lost (v. 805, 
896, etc".) the faithful seraph who withstood 
Satan when he urged the angels to revolt. 

Abecedarian (a be si dar' i an). Usually, one 
who teaches or is learning his ABC; but 
also the name of a 1 6th-century sect of Anabap- 
tists who regarded the teaching of the Holy 
Spirit (as extracted by them f from the Bible) 
as sufficient for every purpose in life, and hence 
despised all learning of every kind, except so 
much of the A B C as was necessary to enable 
them to read. The sect was founded in 1520 
by Nicholas Stork, a weaver of Zwickau; 
hence they are also spoken of as "the 
Zwickau prophets" 

Abecedarian Hymns. Hymns the lines 9r 
other divisions of which are arranged in 
alphabetical order. In Hebrew the 119th 
Psalm is abecedarian. See ACROSTIC POETRY. 

Abelites (ab'elltz), Abelians, or Abelonians. 

A Christian sect of the 4th century mentioned 
by St. Augustine as living in North Africa, 
They married but remained virgin, as they 
affirmed Abel did on the assumption that be- 
cause no children of his are mentioned in 
Scripture he had none. The sect was main- 
tained by adopting the children of others. 

Abhorrers. See PETITIONERS. 

Abidhamma (ab id a' ma). The third pitaka 
of the three Pali texts (Tripitaka) which 
together form the sacred canon of the Bud- 
dhists. The Abidhamma contains "the 
analytical exercises in the psychological sys- 
tem on which the doctrine is based," in seven 
treatises. See TRIPITAKA. 
Abif. See HIRAM ABIF. 

Abigail (ab' i gal). A lady's maid. Abigail, 
wife of Nabal and afterwards of David, is a 
well-known Scripture heroine (1 Sam. xxv, 3). 
Marlowe called the daughter of Barrabas, his 
Jew of Malta, by this name, and it was given 
by Beaumont and Fletcher to the "waiting 

gentlewoman" in The Scornful Lady. Swift, 
Fielding, and other novelists of the period 
employ it in their novels, and it was further 
popularized by the notoriety of Abigail Hill, 
better known as Mrs. Masham, Queen Anne's 
Lady in Waiting and personal friend. 
Abimelech (a bim' e lek). A Canaanitish regal 
title probably meaning "Melech, the divine 
king, is father." Besides the two of this 
name in the Bible (Gen. xxvi and Judges i\) 
it occurs as that of a prince of Arvad in the 
Annals of Assurbampal, and in the Amarna 
tables as that of an Egyptian governor of 

Abingdon La\$. See CUPAR JUSTICE. 
Able-bodied Seaman, An, or, an able seaman, 
is a skilled seaman, a sailor of the first class. 
A crew is divided into three classes: (1) skilled 
seamen, termed A B. (Abie-Bodied); (2) ordin- 
ary seamen; and (3) boys, which include 
"green hands," or inexperienced men, without 
regard to age or size. 

Aboard. A ship is said to fall aboard another 
when it runs against it. 

Aboard main tack is an old sea-term meaning 
to draw one of the lower corners of the main- 
sail down to the chess-tree. 
Abolitionists. In U.S.A. the term applied to 
those who advocated and agitated for the 
abolition of Negro slavery. In Australia the 
name was given to those who between 1820 
and 1867 sought to obtain by law the abolition 
of the transportation of convicts to Australia. 

Abolla (a bol' a). An ancient military gar- 
ment worn by the Greeks and Romans, 
opposed to the toga or robe of peace. The 
abolla being worn by the lower orders, was 
affected by philosophers in the vanity of 

Abomination of Desolation, The, mentioned in 
Dan. (chs. ix, xi, and xii), and in Matt. xxfV,15, 
probably refers to some statue set up in the 
Temple by either the heathens or the Romans. 
The subject is very obscure, the best Hebrew 
and Greek scholarship leaving the actual thing 
intended unidentified, Dr. Cheyne concluding 
that "the 'abomination' which thrusts itself 
into the 'holy place' has for its nature 
'desolation' i.e. finds its pleasure in undoing 
the divine work of a holy Creator." 

Abonde (a bond'). Dame Abonde is the 
French equivalent of Santa Claus, a good 
fairy who brings children presents while they 
are asleep on New Year's Eve. 

Abou-Bekr (aboobekr) (571-634), called 
Father of the Virgin, i.e. Mohammed's 
favourite wife. He was the first caliph, or 
successor of Mohammed, of the Sunni 
Moslems, and reigned for only two years. 

Abou Hassan (a boo has' an). A rich mer- 
chant (in The Arabian Nights), transferred dur- 
ing sleep to the bed and palace of the Caliph 
Haroun al-Raschid. Next morning he was 
treated as the caliph, and every effort was made 
to make him forget his identity (The Sleeper 
Awakened). The same story, localized to 
Shakespeare's own Warwickshire, forms the 

Abou ibn Sina 


Induction to The Taming of the Shrew, 
where a tinker, Christopher Sly, takes the 
place of Abou Hassan. The incident is said 
by Burton (Anatomy of Melancholy, II, iv) 
actually to have occurred during the wedding 
festivities of Philip the Good of Burgundy 
(about 1440). The Ballad of the Frolicsome 
Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune in the 
Percy Reliques, and another version in 
Calderon's play, Life's a Dream (c. 1633), 
go to show how popular and widely spread 
was this Oriental fable. 

Abou ibn Sina, commonly called Avicenna 
from his birthplace, Afshena, near Bokhara, 
A great Persian physician whose canons of 
medicine were founded on those of Galen, 
Hippocrates, and Aristotle, and whose teach- 
ing had great influence on western mediaeval 
medicine. He died in 1037. 

Above-board. Honest and open. According 
to Johnson, this is a figurative expression 
"borrowed from gamesters, who, when they 
put their hands under the table, are changing 
their cards." 

Above par. A commercial term meaning 
that the article referred to is at more than its 
nominal value. See PAR. 

Above your hook. See HOOK. 

Ab ovo. From the very beginning. Stasinus, 
in his Cypna, a poem in 11 books belonging 
to the Homeric cycle and forming an intro- 
duction to the Iliad, does not rush (as does 
the Iliad itself) in medias res, but begins with 
the eggs of Leda, from one of which Helen 
was born. If Leda had not laid this egg, 
Helen would never have been born, therefore 
Paris could not have eloped with her, therefore 
there would have been no Trojan War, etc. 
The English use of the phrase probably derives 
from the line in Horace's De Arte Poetica: 
Nee gemmo bellum Troianum orditur ab ovo 

Abracadabra. A cabalistic charm, said to be 
made up from the initials of the Hebrew 
words Ab (Father), Ben (Son), and Ruach 
ACadsch (Holy Spirit), and formerly used as 
a powerful antidote against ague, flux, tooth- 
ache, etc. The word was written on parch- 
ment, and suspended from the neck by a linen 
thread, in the following form: 





A B R A C A D 

A B R A C A 

A B R A C 

A B R A 

A B R 

A B 


Abracax. See ABRAXAS, 

Abraham. Mohammedan mythology adds 
the following legends to those told us in the 
Bible concerning the patriarch. His parents 
were Prince Azar and his wife, Adna. As 
King Nimrod had been told that one shortly 
to be born would dethrone him, he proclaimed 
a "massacre of the innocents," and Adna 
retired to a cave where Abraham was born. 
He was nourished by sucking two of her 

fingers, one of which supplied milk and the 
other honey. At the age of fifteen months 
Abraham was equal in size to a lad of fifteen, 
and was so wise that his father introduced 
him to the court of King Nimrod. 

Other Mohammedan traditions relate that 
Abraham and his son "Ismail" rebuilt for 
the fourth time the Kaaba over the sacred 
stone at Mecca; that Abraham destroyed the 
idols manufactured and worshipped by his 
father, Terah; and that the mountain (called 
in the Bible "Mount Moriah") on which he 
offered up his son was "Arfaday." 

The Ghebers say that the infant Abraham 
was thrown into the fire by Nimrod's order, 
but the flame turned into a bed of roses, on 
which he went to sleep. Hence Moore's 
allusion in Lalla Rookh : 

Sweet and welcome as the bed 
For their own infant prophet spread, 
When pitying Heaven to roses turned 
The death-flames that beneath him burned. 
Fire Worshippers. 

To sham Abraham. See ABRAM-MAN. 

Abrahamic covenant. The covenant made 
by God with Abraham (Gen. xii, 2, 3, and xvii), 
interpreted to mean that the Messiah should 
spring from his seed. This promise was given 
to Abraham, because he left his father's house 
to live in a strange land, as God told him. 

Abraham Newland, An. A bank-note. So 
called from the name of the chief cashier at 
the Bank of England from 1782 to 1807, 
without whose signature no Bank of England 
notes were genuine. 

Abraham's bosom. The repose of the happy 
in death 

The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom. 
Richard ///, iv, 3. 

The allusion is to Luke xvi, 22, and refers to 
the ancient custom of allowing a dear friend 
to recline on one's bosom, as did John on the 
bosom of Jesus. 

There is no leaping from Delilah's lap into 
Abraham's bosom i.e. those who live and die 
in notorious sin must not expect to go to 
heaven at death. 

^ Abram-colour. "Abram" here is a corrup- 
tion of auburn. In Coriolanus, ii, 3, the word is 
so printed in the first three Folios 

Our heads are some brown, some black, some 
Abram, some bald. 

But in the fourth Folio (1685) and in later 
editions auburn is given. Kyd's tragedy, 
Soliman and Perseda (1588) has: 

Where is the eldest son of Priam, the Abram- 
coloured Trojan? 

And Middleton, in Blurt, Master Constable 
(1601), mentions: 

A goodly, long, thick Abram-coloured beard. 

Abram-man, or Abraham cove, A pre- 
tended maniac who, in Tudor and early 
Stuart times, wandered about the country as 
a begging impostor; a Tom o' Bedlam (#.y.); 
hence the phrase, to sham Abraham, meaning 
to pretend illness or distress, in order to get 
off work. 

Inmates of Bedlam (q-v.\ who were not 
dangerously mad were kept in the "Abraham 


Abundant Number 

Ward," and allowed out from time to time in 
a distinctive dress. They were permitted to 
supplement their scanty rations by begging. 
This gave an opportunity to impostors, and 
large numbers availed themselves of it Says 
The Canting Academy (Richd. Head, 1674), 

"used to array themselves with party-coloured 
ribbons, tape in their hats, a fox-tail hanging down, 
a long stick with streamers," and beg alms; out 
"for all their seeming madness, they had wit enough 
to steal as they went along." 

There is a good picture of them in King 
Lear, ii, 3; and see also Beaumont and 
Fletcher's Beggars Bush, ii, i: 

Come, princes of the ragged regiment 
And these, what name or title e'er they bear, 
Jarkman or Patrice, Cranke or Clapper-dudgeon, 
Prater or Abram-man, I speak to all 
That stand in fair election for the title 
Of King of Beggars. 

Abraxas (a braks' as). A cabalistic word used 
by the Gnostics to denote the Supreme Being, 
the source of 365 emanations, the sum of the 
numbers represented by the Greek letters of 
the word totalling 365. It was frequently 
engraved on gems (hence known as abraxas 
stones}, that were used as amulets or talismans. 
See BASILIDIANS. By some authorities the 
name is given as that of one of the horses of 

Absalom and Achitophel (akit'ofel). A 
political satire published in 1681, the first 
part by Dryden and the second by Nahum 
Tate and revised by Dryden. Ofthe prin- 
cipal characters, David stands for Charles II; 
Absalom for his natural son James, Duke of 
Monmouth (handsome and rebellious); Achi- 
tophel for Lord Shaftesbury; Zimri for the 
Duke of Buckingham; and Abdael for Monk. 
The accommodation of the biblical narrative 
to contemporary history is so skilfully made 
*hat the story of David seems to repeat itself. 
Absent. *'Out of mind as soon as out of 
sight " This is the form in which the proverb 
is given by Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke 
<d. 1628) in bis 56th Sonnet \ but it appears 
with its more usual wording "Out of sight, 
out of mind," as the title of one of Barnabe 
Googe's Eclogs (1563). 

Tbe absent are always wrong. The transla- 
tion of the French proverb, Les absents out 
toujours tort, which implies that it is always 
easy to lay the blame on someone who is not 
present to stand up for himself. 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. A 
tag- of doubtful truth, that comes from a 
song, The Isle of Beauty by T. Haynes Bayly 

Absent flag. A small blue signal flown by a 
yacht to indicate that the owner is not aboard, 
Absolute. A Captain Absolute, a bold, 
despotic man, determined to have his own 
way, so called from the character in Sheridan's 

Absolute weight. The weight of a body in 

Absolute zero. The temperature at which a 
theoretically perfect gas, kept at constant 
volume, would exert no pressure. In practice 
this is 273.1 C. 

Absquatulate (&b skwot' u lat). To run away 
or abscond. An artificial American word, 
possibly from Lat. ab, from and squat, a 
squatting being a tenement taken in some 
unclaimed part, without purchase or per- 
mission. It seems to have been first used m 
1833, in The Kentuckian, a play by W, B. 

Abstinence is the voluntary total forbearance 
from taking alcohol, certain foods, etc.; it 
differs from temperance, for this admits of 
their being taken habitually in moderation. 
In ecclesiastical parlance Days of Abstinence 
are those when the eating of meat is not 
permitted; Fasting Days are when only one 
full meal is allowed in the twenty-four hours. 
Abstract Numbers are numbers considered 
without reference to anything else: 1, 2, 3; 
if we say 1 year, 2 feet, 3 men, etc., the 
numbers are no longer abstract, but concrete. 

Things are said to be taken in the abstract 
when they are considered absolutely, that is, 
without reference to other matters or persons. 
Thus, in the abstract, one man may be as 
good as another, but is yet not so socially 
and politically. 

An abstract of title is a legal expression, 
meaning an epitome of the evidences of owner- 

Abstraction. Alexander Bain, in The Senses 
and the Intellect (1855), defines abstraction as 
"the generalizing of some property, so as to 
present it to the mind, apart from the other 
properties that usually go along with it in 
nature"; or it is, as Locke put it: "Nothing 
more than leaving out of a number of resem- 
bling ideas what is peculiar to each." This 
process is apt to result in what we call an 
empty abstraction, a mere ideality, of no prac- 
tical use, and sooner or later we turn away 
from such unsatisfying ideas, as did Words- 
worth : 

Give us, for our abstractions, solid facts; 
For our disputes, plain pictures. 

Excursion v, 636. 

Gladstone furnished an excellent illustration 
of the meaning of the term when he said, 
"Laws are abstractions until they are put into 

Absurd meant originally "quite deaf," (Lat. 
ab, intensive, and surdus, deaf); but the Lat. 
compound, absurdus, had the meaning, "out 
of time," "discordant," hence "harsh" or 
"rough," and hence the figurative (and now 
common) meaning "irrational," "silly" or 
Reductio ad absurdum. See REDUCTIO. 

Abudah (a bu' da). Thackeray's allusion: 

Like Abudah, he is always looking out for the 
Fury, and knows that the night will come with the 
inevitable hag with it. 

is to a story in Ridley's Tales of the Genii of 
a merchant of Bagdad who is haunted every 
night by an old hag. 

Abundant Number, An. A number the sum 
of whose aliquot parts is greater than itself. 
Thus 12 is an abundant number, because its 
divisors, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6=16, which is greater 


Accius Naevius 

Abus (ab'us). An old name of the river 
H umber. See Spenser's Faerie Queene, II, 
x, 16: 

He [Locrine] then encountred, a confused rout, 
Forbye the River that whylome was hight 
The ancient Abus . . . 

See Geoffrey of Monmouth's Chronicles, 
Bk. ii, 2. 
Abyla. See CALPE. 

Abyssinian Christians. A branch of the 
Coptic Church. See COPTS. 

Academy. Originally the proper name of a 
garden near Athens (from Academes, the 
reputed founder) where Plato taught; hence, 
the philosophical school or system of Plato, 
and, later, a place where the arts and sciences, 
etc., are taught, and a society or institution 
for their cultivation. 

Plato's Academy was divided into the Old, 
his own philosophic teaching, and that of his 
immediate followers Xenocrates, Crates, and 
others; the Middle, a modified Platonic 
system, founded by Arcesilaus about 244 B.C.; 
and the New, the half-sceptical school of 
Carneades, founded about 160 B.C. Plato's 
followers were known as Academics. In 
addition to its usage in reference to an 
academy or university, the adjective academic 
has since been employed to signify "theoreti- 
cal, scholarly, abstract, unpractical, merely 
logical." See PLATONISM. 

The principal modern Academies are: 

In. Italy, the Academia de Lincei founded in 
1603, with Galileo among its earliest members; 
it became the National Academy in 1 870. 

The French Academy (Acad^mie franfaise), 
formally established in 1635 by Cardinal 
Richelieu, with 40 members, its principal 
function being: 

To labour with all the caie and diligence possible, 
to give exact rules to our language, to render it 
capable of treating the arts and sciences. 

The Royal Academy of Arts, founded in 
1768 by George III for the establishment of 
an art school and the holding of annual 
exhibitions of works by living artists. The 
following is a list of the Presidents of the 
Royal Academy : 

1768 Sir Joshua Reynolds 1878 Lord Leighton 

1792 Benjamin West 1896 Sir John Millais 

1805 James Wyatt (temp.) 1896 Sir Edward Poynter 

1 806 Benjamin West 1919 Sir Aston Webb 
1820 Sir Thos. Lawrence 1924 Sir F. Dicksee 
1830 Sir Martin Archer 1928 Sir W. Llewellyn 

Shee 1938 Sir E. Lutyens 

1850 Sir Charles Eastlake 1944 Sir A. L. Munnings 
1866 Sir Francis Grant 1950 Sir G. F. Kelly 

The Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, 

was founded in 1741 for the training of 
artillery and engineer officers; the Royal 
Military Academy, Sandhurst* was founded 
in 1799 for the training of candidates for 
commissions in the infantry, cavalry, and other 
arms. These two were amalgamated in 1946 
as the Royal Military Academy, at Sandhurst. 

The Royal Spanish Academy was founded 
at Madrid in 1713 for purposes similar to 
those of the French Academy. There is also 
a Royal Academy of Science at Berlin (founded 
1700), at Stockholm (the Royal Swedish 

Academy, founded 1739), and at Copenhagen 
(founded 1742). The Imperial Academy of 
Sciences at St. Petersburg (Leningrad) was 
established by Catherine I in 1725. 

Academy figures. Drawings in black and 
white chalk, on tinted paper, usually about 
half life-size and from the nude. 

Acadia (a ka' dia). The early name of Nova 
Scotia, introduced to Europe by the Floren- 
tine explorer, Verazzani, who reported in 1524 
that it was known by that name to the inhabi- 
tants. In 1621 Sir Wm. Alexander obtained 
a grant of the land, and its name was changed 
to Nova Scotia. The old French inhabitants 
refused to take the oath of allegiance to the 
British crown and were in a state of constant 
rebellion, so in 1755 they were forcibly 
evacuated; Longfellow's Evangeline tells of the 
resulting sufferings. 

Acadine (ak' a din). A Sicilian fountain men- 
tioned by Diodorus Siculus as having magic 
properties. Writings were thrown into it for 
the purpose of being tested; if genuine they 
floated, if spurious they sank to the bottom. 

Acanthus (a kan' thus). The conventionalized 
representation of the leaf of Acanthus mottis 
used as a decoration in the capitals of Corin- 
thian and composite columns. The story is 
that an acanthus sprang up around a basket of 
flowers that Calhmachus had placed on his 
daughter's grave, and that this so struck the 
fancy of the architect that he introduced the 
design into his buildings. 


Accessory. Accessory before the fact is one 

who is aware that another intends to commit 
an offence, but is himself absent when the 
offence is perpetrated. 

Accessory after the fact is one who screens 
a felon, aids him in eluding justice, or helps 
him in any way to profit by his crime. Thus, 
the receiver of stolen goods, knowing or even 
suspecting them to be stolen, is an accessory 
ex post facto. 

Accident. A logical accident is some property 
of quality which a substance possesses, the 
removal or change of which would not 
necessarily affect the substance itself, as the 
height of our bodies, the redness of a brick, 
the whiteness of paper, etc. Theologians 
explain the doctrine of transubstantiation by 
maintaining that the substance of the bread 
and wine is changed into that of the body and 
blood of Christ, but their accidents (flavour, 
appearance, and so on) remain the same as 

Accidental colours. See COLOURS. 

Accidentals in music are signs indicating 
sharps, flats, naturals, and double sharps and 
flats, other than those sharps and flats pre- 
scribed by the key-signature. 

Accius Naevius (ak' si us ne' vi (is). A legend- 
ary Roman augur in the reign of Tarquin 
the Elder. When he forbade the king to 
increase the number of centuries (i.e. divisions 
of the army) instituted by R9mulus, without 
consulting the augurs, Tarquin asked him if, 



according to the augurs, the thought then in 
his, Tarquin's, mind was feasible of accom- 
plishment. "Undoubtedly," said Accius, 
after consultation. "Then cut through this 
whetstone with the razor in your hand." 
The priest gave a bold cut, arid the block 
fell in two (Livy, i, 36). 

Accolade (ak 5 lad')- The touch of a sword 
on the shoulder in the ceremony of conferring 
knighthood; originally an embrace or touch 
by the hand on the neck (Lat. ad coltum, on 
the neck). In music the brace ({) that con- 
nects two or more staves in the score is called 
an accolade. 

Accommodation. In commercial use, a loan 
of money. 

Accommodation note or bill. A bill of 
exchange for which value has not been 
received, used for the purpose of raising 
money on credit. 

Accommodation ladder. A flight of steps 
hung over the side of a ship at the gangway. 

Accord means "heart to heart" (Lat. ad 
corda). If two persons like and dislike the 
same things, they are heart to heart with each 

Similarly, "concord" means heart with 
heart; "discord," heart divided from heart; 
"record" i.e. re-corddre properly means to 
bring again to the mind or heart, and second- 
arily to set this down in writing, 

Account, To open an. To enter a customer's 
name on your ledger for the first time. (Lat. 
accomputare, to calculate.) 

To keep open account. Merchants are said 
to keep open account when they agree to 
honour each other's bills of exchange. 

A current account or "account current," afc, 
A commercial term, meaning the account of a 
customer who does not pay for goods received 
at time of purchase. 

On account. A commercial phrase imply- 
ing "in part payment for." 

On the account was an old pirates' phrase 
for sailing a-pirating. 

To cast accounts. To give the results of 
the debits and credits entered, balancing the 
two, and carrying over the surplus. 

The account on the Stock Exchange means : 
the credit allowed on dealings for the fort- 
nightly settlement, or the fortnightly settle- 
ment itself, which is also called account-day, 
or settling-day. 

To be sent to one's account To have final 
judgment passed on one. The Ghost m 
Hamlet uses the phrase as a synonym for 

Sent to my account 
With all my imperfections on my head. 

Hamlet, i, 5. 

Accusative. Calvin was so called by his 
college companions. An "accusative age" 
is an obsolete expression denoting an age 
that is searching, one that eliminates error by 
accusing it. 

This hath been a very accusative age. Sir E. 
DERING (16th century). 

Ace. The unit of cards or dice, from as, 
which was the Latin unit of weight. In 
World War I the French term as, applied 
to an airman who had brought down tea 
enemy aeroplanes, was imported in its English 
equivalent ace. This sense of the word has 
since been extended to include any more 
than usually expert flier, bridge-player, golfer, 

Within an ace. Within a hair's breadth of; 
he who wins within an ace wins within a 
single mark. See AMBSAS. 

To bate an ace is to make an abatement, 
or to give a competitor some start or other 
advantage, in order to render the combatants 
more equal. See BOLTON. Taylor, the water 
poet (1580-1654), speaking of certain women, 

Though bad they be, they will not bate an ace 
To be call' d Prudence, Temp'rance, Faith, and Grace. 

Aceldama (a sel' da ma). The "field of 
blood" near Jerusalem, mentioned in Matt. 
xxvii, 8, and Acts i, 19. It was appropriated 
as a cemetery for strangers, and was used as 
a burial-place by Christians during the Cru- 
sades and even as late as the 17th century. 
The name, which is Aramaic and means " the 
field of blood," is figuratively used for any 
place of great slaughter. 

Acephalites (a sef a litz) (Gr. akephale, with- 
out a head). The name given to various 
rebellious and discontented groups of early 
Christians, principally to (1) a faction among 
the Monophysites who seceded from the 
authority of Peter; (2) certain bishops of 
the Eastern Church exempt from the juris- 
diction and discipline of their patriarch; 
(3) a party of English levellers in the reign of 
Henry I, who acknowledged no leader. 

The name is also given to the monsters 
described in various legends and mediaeval 
books of travel as having no head, the eyes 
and mouth being placed elsewhere. 

Acestes (ases'tez). The arrow of Acestes. 

In a trial of skill Acestes, the Sicilian, dis- 
charged his arrow with such force that it took 
fire. (JEneid, V, 525.) 
Acestes . . . shooting upward, sends his shaft 

to show 

An archer's art, and boast his twanging bow; 
The feathered arrow gave a dire portent 
And latter augurs judge from this event 
Chafed by the speed, it fired, and as at flew 
A trail of following flames ascending drew. 

DRYDEN: ^n., V, 687. 

Achaean League (a ke' an). The first Achaean 
League was a religious confederation of the 
twelve towns of Achsea, lasting from very early 
times till it was broken up by Alexander the 
Great. The second was a powerful political 
federation of the Achaean and many other 
Greek cities, formed to resist Macedonian 
domination in 280 B.C., and dissolved by the 
Romans in 147 B.C. 

Achates (a ka' tez). A fidus Achates is a 
faithful companion, a bosom friend. Achates 
in Virgil s sneid is the chosen companion of 
the hero in adventures of all kinds. 
Achemon (a ke' mon). According to Greek 
fable Achemon and his brother Basalas were 



two Cercopes forever quarrelling. One day 
they saw Hercules asleep under a tree and 
insulted him, but Hercules tied them by 
their feet to his club and walked off with them, 
heads downwards, like a brace ^of hare. 
Everyone laughed at the sight, and it became 
a proverb among the Greeks, when two men 
were seen quarrelling "Look out for 
Melampygos! " (i.e. Hercules): 
Ne insidas in Melampygum. 

Acheron (ak' er on). A Greek word meaning 
"the River of Sorrows"; the river of the 
infernal regions into which Phlegethon and 
Cocytus flow: also the lower world (Hades) 

They pass the bitter waves of Acheron 
Where many souls sit wailmg woefully. 

SPENSER: Faerie Queenc, I, v, 33. 
Acherontian Books. See TAGES. 
Acherusia (ak er ooz' i a). A cavern on the 
borders of Pontus, through which Hercules 
dragged Cerberus to earth from the infernal 

Acheulian (a sher' li an). The name given to 
the paleolithic period identified by the remains 
found m the cave of St. Acheul, France. 
Achillea (ak il e' a). A genus of herbaceous 
plants of the aster family, including the 
common yarrow (Achillea miUefolium), so 
called from Achilles. The tale is, that when 
the Greeks invaded Troy, Telephus, son-in- 
law of Priam, attempted to stop their landing; 
but, Bacchus causing him to stumble, Achilles 
wounded him with his spear. The young 
Trojan was told by an oracle that "Achilles 
(meaning milfoil or yarrow) would cure the 
wound"; instead of seeking the plant he 
applied to the Grecian chief, and promised 
to conduct the host to Troy if he would cure 
the wound. Achilles consented to do so, 
scraped some rust from his spear, and from 
the filings rose the plant milfoil, which being 
applied to the wound, had the desired effect. 
It is called by the French the herbe aitx 
charpentiers i.e. carpenters' wort, because it 
was supposed to heal wounds made by car- 
penters' tools. 

Achilles (a kil' ez). In Greek legend, the son 
of Peleus and Thetis and grandson of Eacus, 
king of the Myrmidons (in Thessaly), and hero 
of the Iliad (tf.v,)- He is represented as being 
brave and relentless; but, at the opening of the 
poem, in consequence of a quarrel between 
him and Agamemnon, commander-in-chief 
of the allied Greeks, he refused to fight. The 
Trojans prevailed, and Achilles sent Patroclus 
to oppose them. Patroclus fell; and Achilles, 
rushing into the battle, killed Hector fa.v.). 
He himself, according to later poems, was 
slain at the Scaean gate, before Troy was 
taken, by an arrow in his heel. See ACHILLES 

Death of Achilles. It was Paris who 
wounded Achilles in the heel with an arrow 
(a post-Homeric story). 

Achilles's horses. Balios and Xanthos (see 

Achilles's mistress in Troy. Hippodarnia, 
surnamed Briseis (tf.v.). 

Achilles's tomb. In Sigoeum, over which 
no bird ever flies. Pliny 9 x, 29. 

Achilles's tutors. First, Phoenix, who 
taught him the elements; then Chiron the 
centaur, who taught him the uses and virtues 
of plants. 

Achilles's wife. Deidamia (#.v.). 

The English Achilles. John Talbot, first 
Earl of Shrewsbury (13887-1453). 

Achilles of England. The Duke of Welling- 
ton (1769-1852). 

Achilles of Germany. Albert Elector of 
Brandenburg (1414-1486). 

Achilles of Lombardy. In Tasso's Jerusalem 
Delivered, the brother of Sforza and Pala- 
medes, brothers in the allied army of Godfrey. 
Achilles of Lombardy was slain by Corinna. 

Achilles of Rome. Lucius Sicinius Denta- 
tus, tribune of the Roman plebs, 454 B.C.; 
put to death 450 B.C.; also called the Second 

Achilles of the West. Roland the Paladin; 
also called "The Christian Theseus." 

Achilles and the tortoise. The allusion is 
to the following paradox proposed by Zeno: 
In a race Achilles, who can run ten times as 
fast as a tortoise, gives the latter 100 yards 
start; but it is impossible for him to overtake 
the tortoise and win the race; for, while he is 
running the first hundred yards the tortoise 
runs ten, while Achilles runs that ten the 
tortoise is running one, while Achilles is 
running one the tortoise runs one-tenth of a 
yard, and so on ad infinitum. 

Achilles's spear. Shakespeare's lines: 

That gold must round engirt these brows of mine 

Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear, 

Is able with the change to kill and cure. 

2 Henry VI, v, I. 

is an allusion from the story told above (s.v. 
ACHILLEA) of the healing of Telephus. It is 
also referred to by Chaucer: 

. . . speche of Thelophus the king, 

And of Achilles with his queynte spere, 

For he coude with it both hele and dere (harm). 
Squire's Tale, 238. 

Achilles tendon, A strong sinew running 
along the heel to the calf of the leg, frequently 
strained by athletes. The tale is that Thetis 
took her son Achilles by the heel, and dipped 
him in the river Styx to make him invulnerable. 
The water washed every part, except the heel 
in his mother's hand. It was on this vulner- 
able point the hero was slain; and the sinew 
of the heel is called, in consequence, tendo 
Achillis. A post-Homeric story. 

The heel of Achilles. The vulnerable or 
weak point in a man's character or of a nation. 
Aching Void, An. That desolation of heart 
which arises from the recollection of some 
cherished endearment no longer possessed. 
What peaceful hours I once enjoy'd, 

How sweet their memory still ; 
But they have left an aching void 
The world can never fill. 

COWPER: Walking with Cod. 

Achitophel (a kit' 6 fel). Ahithophel was 
David's traitorous counsellor, who deserted 



Action Games 

to Absalom; but his advice being disregarded, 
he hanged himself (2 Sam. xvii, 23). The 
Achitophel of Dryden's satire (see ABSALOM 
AND ACHITOPHEL) was the Earl of Shaftesbury. 

Acfaor (a' kor). Said by Pliny to be the name 
of the deity prayed to by the Cyreneans for 
the averting of insect pests. See FLIES, 

Acid Test. The application of acid is a cer- 
tain test of gold. Hence the phrase is used 
of a test or trial which will conclusively decide 
the value, worth, or reliability of anything. 

Acis (a 7 sis). In Greek mythology, the son 
of Faunus, in love with Galatea. His rival, 
Polyphemus, the Cyclop, crushed him to 
death beneath a huge rock. 
Ack emma. See PIP EMMA. 
Acme (ak'rm) (Gr. a point). The highest 
pitch of perfection; the term used by old 
medical writers for the crisis of a disease. 
They divided the progress of a disease into 
four periods: the atche, or beginning; the 
anabasis, or increase; the acme> or term of its 
utmost violence; and the paracme, or decline. 

Aconite (ak'onlt). The herb Monkshood 
or Wolfsbane. Classic fabulists ascribe its 
poisonous qualities to the foam which dropped 
from the mouths of the three-headed Cerberus, 
when Hercules, at the command of Eurys- 
theus, dragged the monster from the infernal 
regions. (Gr. aKovirov; Lat. aconitum.} 
Lurida terribiles miscent Aconita novercae. 

Ovro: Metamorphoses,, i, 147. 

Acrasia (a kra' zi a). In Spenser's Faerie 
Queene (Bk. II, ca. 12), an enchantress, 
mistress of the "Bower of Bliss." She trans- 
formed her lovers into monstrous shapes, and 
kept them captives. Sir Guyon captures her, 
frees her victims, destroys the bower, and 
sends her in chains of adamant to the Faerie 
Queene. She is the oersonification of Intem- 
perance, the name signifying " lack of self- 

Acre. O.E. cecer* is akin to the Lat. ager 
and Gen acker (a field). God's Acre, a 
cemetery or churchyard. Longfellow calls 
this an "ancient Saxon phrase," but as a 
matter of fact it is a modern borrowing from 

Acre-shot. An obsolete name for a land 
tax. "Shot" is scot. See SCOT AND LOT. 

Acres, Bob. A coward by character in 
Sheridan's The Rivals, whose courage always 
"oozed out at his fingers* ends." Hence, a 
man of this kind is sometimes called "a 
regular Bob Acres." 

Acropolis (a krop' o lis) (Gr. akros, point, 
height; potts, city). An elevated citadel, 
especially of ancient Athens, where was built 
in the 15th century B.C. the Parthenon, the 
Erechtheum, and the Propylaea or monu- 
mental gate. 

Acrostic (Gr. akros, extremity; stichos, row, 
line of verse). A piece of verse in which the 
initial letters of each line read downwards 
consecutively form a word; if the final letters 

read in the same way also form a word it is a 
double acrostic-, if the middle letters as well 
it is a triple acrostic. The term was first 
applied to the excessively obscure prophecies 
of the Erythraean sibyl; they were written on 
loose leaves, and the initial letters made a 
word when the leaves were sorted and laid 
in order. (Dionys. iv, 62.) 

Acrostic Poetry among the Hebrews C9n- 
sisted of twenty-two lines or stanzas beginning 
with the letters of the alphabet in succession 
Act and Opponency. An ~Act," in our 
University language, consists of a thesis 
publicly maintained by a candidate for a 
degree, with the "disputation" thereon. The 
person "disputing" with the "keeper of the 
Act" is called the "opponent," and his func- 
tion is called an "opponency". In some 
degrees the student is required to keep his 
Act, and then to be the opponent of another 
disputant. This custom has long been given 
up at Oxford, but at Cambridge the thesis and 
examination for the doctor's degree in 
Divinity, Law, and Medicine is still called an 

Act of Faith. See AUTO DA FE. 

Act of God. Loss arising from the action 
of forces uncontrollable by man, such as a 
hurricane, lightning, etc., is said to be due to 
an "act of God," and hence has no legal 
redress. A Devonshire jury once found 
"That deceased died by the act of God, 
brought about by the flooded condition of 
the river." 

Act of Man. The sacrificing of cargo, spars, 
or furnishings, by the master of a vessel for the 
preservation of his ship. All persons with an 
interest in the ship and cargo stand a fair share 
of the loss. 

Act of Parliament. This is the official 
name for a measure which has become the 
law of the land. The word Bill is applied 
to a measure on its introduction, and for it 
to become an Act it has to be read three times 
in each House of Parliament (during which 
time it is debated) and receive the royal assent. 
The Acts of each session are arranged m 
chapters and officially quoted according to 
the year of the reign m which they are passed. 
See REGNAL YEAR. The Acts of the English 
Parliament go back to 1235. 

Actaeon (akte'on). In Greek mythology a 
huntsman who, having surprised Diana 
bathing, was changed by her into a stag and 
torn to pieces by his own hounds. A stag 
being a horned animal, he became a representa- 
tive of men whose wives are unfaithful. See 

Like Sir Actaeon he, with Ringwood at thy heel. 
SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives, ii, 1. 

The Emperors themselves did wear Action's badge. 
BURTON: Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). 

Actian Games (ak' ti an). The games cele- 
brated at Actium in honour of Apollo. They 
were reinstituted by Augustus to celebrate his 
naval victory over Antony, 31 B.C., and were 
held every five years. 

Action Sermon 


Action Sermon. A sermon (in the Scots 
Presbyterian Church) preached before the 
celebration of Communion. 

Acton. A taffeta, or leather-quilted dress, 
worn under the habergeon to keep the body 
from being chafed or bruised. (Fr. hoqueton, 
cotton-wool, padding.) 

Actresses. Coryat, in his Crudities (1611), 
says "When I went to a theatre (in Venice) 
I observed certain things that I never saw 
before; for I saw women acte. ... I have 
heard that it hath sometimes been used in 
London," but the first public appearance of 
a woman on the stage in England was on 
8 Dec., 1660, when Margaret Hughes, Prince 
Rupert's mistress, played Desdemona in 
Othello at a new theatre in Clare Market, 
London. Previous to that female parts had 
always been taken by boys; Edward Kynaston 
(d. 1706) seems to have been the last male 
actor to play a woman on the English stage, 
in serious drama. 

Whereas, women's parts m plays have hitherto 
been acted by men in the habits of women ... we 
do permit and give leave for the time to come that 
all women's parts be acted by women. 

Charles IPs licence of 1662. 

Acu tetigisti. See HEM ACU. 

Ad inquirendum (ad in kwl ren' dum) (Lat.). 
A judicial writ commanding an inquiry to be 
made into some complaint. 

Ad Kalendas Graecas (M ka len' das gre' kas) 
(Lat.). (Deferred) to the Greek Calends 
i.e. for ever. (It shall be done) on the Greek 
Calends i.e. never for the Greeks had no 
Calends (<?.v.). Suetonius tells us that this 
used to be the reply of Augustus to the question 
when he was going to pay his creditors. 

Ad libitum (ad lib' i turn) (Lat.). To choice, 
at pleasure, without restraint. 

Ad rem (ad rem') (Lat.). To the point in 
hand; to the purpose. 

Ad valorem (ad val or' em) (Lat.). According 
to the price charged. A commercial term 
used in imposing customs duties according to 
the value of the goods imported. Thus, if 
teas pay duty ad valorem, the high-priced 
tea will pay more duty per pound than the 
lower-priced tea. 

Ad vitam aut culpam (ad yi' tarn awt kul' pam) 
(Lat.). A phrase, meaning literally "to life- 
time or fault," used in Scottish law of the 
permanency of an appointment, unless for- 
feited by misconduct. 

Adam. The Talmudists say that Adam lived 
in Paradise only twelve hours, and account 
for the time thus : 

I. God collected the dust and animated it. 
II. Adam stood on his feet. 
IV. He named the animals. 
VI. He slept and Eve was created. 
VII. He married the woman. 

X. He fell. 
XII. He was thrust out of Paradise. 

Mohammedan legends add to the Bible 
story the tradition that 

God sent Gabriel, Michael, and Israfel one after 
the other to fetch seven handfuls of earth from 
different depths and of different colours for the 

creation of Adam (thereby accounting for the varying 
colours of mankind), but that they returned empty- 
handed because Earth foresaw that the creature to 
be made from her would rebel against G&d and 
draw down His curse on her, whereupon Azrael was 
sent. He executed the commission, and for that 
reason was appointed to separate the souls from the 
bodies and hence became the Angel of Death. The 
earth he had taken was carried into Arabia to a place 
between Mecca and Tayef, where it was kneaded 
by the angels, fashioned into human form by God, 
and left to dry for either forty days or forty years. 
It is also said that while the clay was being endowed 
with life and a soul, when the breath breathed by 
God into the nostrils had reached as far as the navel, 
the only half-living Adam tried to rise up and got 
ah ugly fall for his pains. Mohammedan tradition 
holds that he was buried on Aboucais, a mountain 
of Arabia. 

In Greek the word Adam is made up of the 
four initial letters of the cardinal quarters: 
Arktos, north; Dusis 9 west; 
Anatole., east; Mesembria, south. 

The Hebrew word (without vowels) forms 
an anagram with the initials: A[dam], 
D[avid], M[essiah]. 

According to Moslem writers: After the 
Fall Adam and Eve were separated, Adam 
being placed on Mt. Vassem, in the east. 
Eve at Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast of 
Arabia. The Serpent was exiled to the coast 
of Ebleh. After a hundred years had been 
thus spent, Adam and Eve were reunited at 
Arafat, in the vicinity of Mecca. Adam died 
on Friday, April 7, at the age of 930 years. 
His body was wrapped in cerements by the 
Archangel Michael; Gabriel performed the 
last rites. The body was buried in the grotto 
of Ghar' ul Kenz, near Mecca. When Noah 
went into the Ark he took Adam's coffin 
with him, after the Flood restoring it to its 
original burial place. 

The old Adam. The offending: Adam, etc. 

Consideration, like an angel, came 
And whipped the offending Adam out of him. 
SHAKESPEARE: Henry V, i, 1. 

Adam, as the head of unredeemed man, 
stands for "original sin," or "man without 
regenerating grace." 

The second Adam. The new Adam, etc. 
Jesus Christ is so called. 
The Tempter set 

Our second Adam, in the wilderness, 
To show him all earth's kingdoms and their glory. 
Paradise Lost, xi, 383. 

Milton probably derived the idea from Rom. 
vi, 6, or 1 Cor. xv, 22: 

For as in Adam all die, even so ia Ckrist shall all 
be made alive. 

Compare the address of God to the Saviour 
in Paradise Lost, iii : 

Be thou in Adam's room 

The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. 

As in him perish all men, so in thee, 

As from a second root, shall be restored 

As many as are restored. 

In the same way Milton calls Mary our 
"second Eve'* (Paradise Lost, v, 387, and 
x, 183). 

When Adam delved: 

When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman. 

This, according to the Historia Anglicana of 
Thos. Walsingham (d. 1422), was the text of 

Adam Bell 



John Ball's speech at Blackheath to the rebels 
in Wat Tyler's insurrection (1381). It seems 
to be an adaptation of some lines by Richard 
Rolle of Hampole (d. c. 1349) : 

When Adam dalfe and Eve spanne 

To spire of thou may spede, 

Where was then the pride of man, 

That now marres his meed? 

Cp. Jack's as good as his master, under JACK 


Adam Cupid i.e. Archer Cupid, probably 
alluding to Adam Bell. In all the early 
editions the line in Romeo and Juliet (II, i,.13) : 
"Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim,'- 
reads "Young Abraham Cupid," etc. The 
emendation was suggested by Steevens. 

Adam's ale. Water; because the first man 
had nothing else to drink. In Scotland 
sometimes called Adam's Wine. 

Adam's apple. The protuberance in the 
forepart of the throat, the anterior extremity 
of the thyroid cartilage of the larynx; so called 
from the superstition that a piece of the 
forbidden fruit stuck in Adam's throat. 

Adam's needle. Gen. iii, 7, tells us that 
Adam and Eve "sewed fig leaves together;" 
needles were (presumably) not then obtainable, 
but certain plants furnish needle-like spines, 
and to some of these the name has been 
given. The chief is the Yucca, a native of 
Mexico and Central America. 

Adams, Parson. The type of a benevolent, 
simple-minded, eccentric country clergyman; 
ignorant of the world, bold as a lion for the 
truth, and modest as a girl. Henry Fielding's 
Joseph Andrews (1742). 

Adam's Peak. A mountain in Ceylon 
where, according to Mohammedan legend, 
Adam bewailed his expulsion from Paradise, 
standing on one foot for 200 years to expiate 
his crime; then Gabriel took him to Mount 
Arafat, where he found Eye. 

In the granite is a curious impression resembling 
a human foot, above 5 feet long by 2i broad; the 
Hindus, however, assert that it was made by Buddha 
when he ascended into heaven. 

Adam's profession. Gardening or agricul- 
ture is sometimes so called for obvious 

There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, 
ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold up Adam's 

SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, v, 1. 

Adamites (ad'amlts). The name given to 
various heretical sects who supposed them- 
selves to attain to primitive innocence by 
rejecting marriage and clothing. There was 
such a sect in North Africa in the 2nd century; 
the Abelites (q.v.) were similar; the heresy 
reappeared in Savoy in the 14th century, and 
spread over Bohemia and Moravia in the 
15th and 16th. One Picard, of Bohemia, was 
the leader in 1400, and styled himself " Adam, 
son of God." There are references to the 
sect in James Shirley's comedy Hyde Park 
(II, iv) (1632), and in The Guardian, No. 134 

Adamant (from Gr. a, not; damao, I tame). 
A word used for any stone or mineral of 
excessive hardness (especially the diamond, 
which is really the same word); also for the 
magnet or loadstone; and, by poets, for hard- 
ness or firmness in the abstract. 
In Midsummer Night's Dream, ii, 1 
You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant; 
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart 
Is true as steel. . 

we have an instance of the use of the word m 
both senses. Adamant as a name for the 
loadstone, or magnet, seems to have arisen 
through an erroneous derivation of the word 
by early mediaeval Latin writers from Late 
Lat., adamare, to take a liking for, to have 
an attraction for. Thus Shakespeare: 
As true as steel, as plantage to the moon, 
As sun to day, as turtle to her mate, 

As iron to adamant. . 

Troilus and Cressida, m, 2. 

Adamastor (ad a maY tor). The spirit of the 
stormy Cape (Good Hope), described by 
Camoens in the Lusiad as a hideous phantom 
that appears to Vasco da Gama and pro- 
phesies disaster to all seeking to make the 
voyage to India. 

Addison of the North. A sobriquet of Henry 
Mackenzie (1745-1831), author of the Man 
of Feeling. 

Addison's disease. A state of anaemia, 
languor, irritable stomach, etc., associated with 
disease of the suprarenal glands: so named 
from Dr. Thos. Addison, of Guy's Hospital 
(1793-1860), who first described it. 

Addisonian termination. The name given 
by Bishop Kurd to the construction which 
closes a sentence with a preposition, such as 
"which the prophet took a distinct view of." 
Named from Joseph Addison, who frequently 
employed it. 

Addle is the Old English adela, mire, or liquid 
filth; hence rotten, putrid, worthless. 

Addle egg. An egg which has no germ ; also 
one in which the chick has died. Hence, 
fig., addle-headed, addle-pate, empty-headed. 
As an addle-egg produces no living bird so 
an addle-pate lacks brains. 

The Addled Parliament. The second Parlia- 
ment of James I, 5th April to 7th June, 1614. 
It refused to grant supplies until grievances 
had been redressed, and is so called because 
it did not pass a single measure. 

Adelantado (a de Ian ta'do). Spanish for "his 
excellency" (from adelantar, to promote), and 
given to the governor of a province. Hence, 
a figure of importance. 

Open no door. If the adelantado of Spain were 
here he should not enter. BEN JONSON: Every Man 
out of his Humour, v, 4. 

Middleton, in Blurt, Master Constable (IV, iii), 
uses lantedo as an Elizabethan abbreviation of 
this word. 

Adelphi, The. A block of residential buildings, 
off the Strand m London, designed by Robert 
Adam in 1768 now largely demolished. 
Adam himself, Garnck, and in later times 
Hardy, Barne; and the Savage Club had 
accommodation in the main building. 




Adept means one who has attained (Lat. 
adeptus, participle of adipisci). The alchem- 
ists applied the term vere adeptus to those 
persons who professed to have "attained to 
the knowledge of" the elixir of life or of the 
philosopher's stone. 

Alchemists tell us there are always 1 1 
adepts, neither more nor less. Like the sacred 
chickens of Compostella, of which there are 
only 2 and always 2 a cock and a hen. 
In Rosicrucian lore as learn'd 
As he that vere adeptus earn'd. 

BUTLER: Hudibras, I, i, 546. 

Adeste Fideles (a des' ti fl de' lez) ("O come, 
all ye faithful"). A Christmas hymn the familiar 
tune of which was composed by John Reading 
(1677-1764), organist at Winchester and author 
of "Dulce Domum." 

Adiaphorists (ad I af or ists) (Gr. indifferent.) 
Followers of Melanchthon; moderate Luther- 
ans, who held that some of the dogmas of 
Luther are matters of indifference. They 
accepted the Interim of Augsburg (#.v.). 

Adieu (Fr. to God). An elliptical form for 
J commend you to God (cp. GOOD-BYE). 

Adjective Colours are those which require a 
mordant before they can be used as dyes. 

Admirable, The. Abraham ben Meir ibn 
Ezra, a celebrated Spanish Jew (1092-1167), 
was so called. He was noted as a mathe- 
matician, philologist, poet, astronomer, and 
commentator on the Bible. 

TTie Admirable Crichton. James Crichton 
(1560-1585?), Scottish traveller, scholar, and 
swordsman. So called by Sir Thomas 

Admirable Doctor (Doctor mirabilis). Roger 
Bacon (12147-1294), the English mediaeval 

Admiral, corruption of Arabic Amir (lord or 
commander), with the article al, as in Amir- 
al-ma (commander of the water), Amir-al- 
Omra (commander of the forces), Amir-al- 
Muminim (commander of the faithful). 

Milton uses the old form for the ship itself: 
speaking of Satan, he says: 

His spear to equal which the tallest pine 
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand 
He walked with. 

Paradise Lost, i, 292. 

In the Royal Navy there are now four 
grades of Admiral, viz. Admiral of the Fleet, 
Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rear- Admiral. 
There used to be three classes, named from 
the colour of their flag Admiral of the Red, 
Admiral of the White, and Admiral of the Blue, 
who, in engagements, held the centre, van, 
and rear respectively. The distinction was 
abolished in 1864. 

Admiral of the Blue (see above), used 
facetiously for a butcher who dresses in 
blue, or a tapster, from his blue apron. 

As soon as customers begin to stir 

The Admiral of the Blue cries, "Coming, Sir'" 
Poor Robin (1731) 

Admiral of the Red (see above), facetiously 
applied to a wmebibber whose face and nose 
are red. 

Admittance. This word is not synonymous 
with admission. From permission to enter, 
and thence the right or power to enter, it 
extends to the physical act of entrance, as 
"he gained admittance to the church." You 
may have admission to the director's room, 
but there is no admittance except through his 
secretary's office. An old meaning of the 
word indicates the privilege of being admitted 
into good society: 

Sir John . . . you are a gentleman of excellent 
breeding ... of great admittance. 

Merry Wives of Windsor, ii, 2. 

Admonitionists, or Admonitioners. Certain 
Protestants who in 1571 sent an admonition 
to the Parliament condemning everything m 
the Church of England which was not in 
accordance with the doctrines and practices 
of Geneva. 

Adonai (a do' nl) (Heb. pi. of adon, lord). A 
name given to the Deity by the Hebrews, and 
used by them m place of Yahweh (Jehovah), 
the "ineffable name," wherever this occurs. 
In the Vulgate, and hence in the Wyclif, 
Coverdale, and Douai versions, it is given for 
Jehovah in Exod. vi, 3, where the A.V. 
reads : 

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and 
unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by 
my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 

Thus James Howell says of the Jews : 
. . . they sing many tunes, and Adonai they make 
the ordinary name of God: Jehovah is pronounced 
at high Festivals. 

Letters, Bk. i, sec. vi, 14 (3 June, 1633). 

Adonists. Those Jews who maintain that 
the vowels of the word Adonai (<?.v.) are not 
the vowels necessary to make the tetra- 
grammaton (q.v.), JHVH, into the name of the 
Deity. See also JEHOVAH. 

Adonais (ad 6 na' is). The poetical name 
given by Shelley to Keats in his elegy on the 
death of the latter (1821), probably in allusion 
to the mourning for Adonis. 

Adonia (a do' ni a). The feast of Adonis, 
celebrated in Assyria, Alexandria, Egypt, 
Judaea, Persia, Cyprus, and Greece, for eight 
days. Lucian gives a long description of these 
feasts, which were generally held at mid- 
summer and at which the women first lamented 
the death and afterwards rejoiced at the 
resurrection of Adonis a custom referred to 
in the Bible (Ezek. viii, 14), where Adonis 
appears under his Phoenician name, Tammuz 

Adonis (a do' nis). In classical mythology a 
beautiful youth who was beloved by Venus, 
and was killed by a boar while hunting. 
Hence, usually ironically, any beautiful young 
man, as in Massinger's Parliament of Love, 
II, 2 I- 

Of all men 

I ever saw yet, m my settled judgment . . . 
Thou art the ugliest creature; and when trimm'd up 
To the height, as thou imagin'st, in mine eyes, 
A leper with a clap-dish (to give notice 
He is infectious), in respect of thee 
Appears a young Adonis. 

And Leigh Hunt was sent to prison for libelling 
George IV when Regent, by calling him "a 
corpulent Adonis of fifty" (Examiner, 1813). 

Adonis Flower 


Advowson appendant 

Adonis Flower, according to Bion, the rose; 
Phny (i, 23) says it is the anemone; others, 
the field poppy; but now generally used for 
the pheasant's eye, called in French goute-de 
sang, because in fable it sprang from the blood 
of the gored hunter. 

Adonis garden. A worthless toy; very 
perishable goods. 

Thy promises are like Adonis' gardens 

That one day bloom'd and fruitful were the next. 
SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry VI, i, vi. 

The allusion is to the baskets or pots of 
earth used at the Adonia fa.v.), in which quick- 
growing plants were sown, tended for eight 
days, allowed to wither, and then thrown into 
the sea or nver with images of the dead Adonis. 
In Spenser's Faerie Queene (Bk. Ill, ca. vi) 
the Garden of Adonis is where 
All the goodly flowres, 
Wherewith dame Nature doth her beautifie 
And decks the girlonds of her paramoures, 
Are fetcht: there is the first seminarie' 
Of all things that are borne to live and die, 
According to their kindes. 

It is to these gardens that Milton also refers 

in Paradise Lost (ix, 440) : 

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 
Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 
Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son, 
Adonis River. A stream which flows from 

Lebanon to the sea near Byblos which runs 

red at the season of the year when the feast 

of Adonis was held. 

Thammuz came next behind, 
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured 
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 
In amorous ditties all a summer's day, 
While smooth Adonis from his native rock 
Ran purple ta the sea, supposed with blood 
Of Thammuz yearly wounded. 

MELTON: Paradise Lost, i, 446. 

Adoption. Adoption by arms. An ancient 
custom of giving arms to a person of merit, 
which laid him under the obligation of being 
your champion and defender. 

Adoption by baptism. Being godfather or 
godmother to a child. The child by baptism 
is your godchild. 

Adoption by hair. Boson, King of Provence 
(879-889), is said to have cut off his hair and 
to have given it to Pope John VIII as a sign 
that the latter had adopted him. 

Adoption Controversy. Elipand, Arch- 
bishop of Toledo, and Felix, Bishop of Urgel 
(in the 8th century), maintained that Christ 
in his human nature was the son of God by 
adoption only (Rom. viii, 29), though m tus 
pre-existing state he was the "begotten Son 
of God" in the ordinary catholic acceptation. 
Duns Scotus, Durandus, and Calixtus were 
among the Adoptionists who supported this 
view, which was condemned by the Council 
of Frankfort in 794. 

Adoptive Emperors. In Roman history, the 
five Emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, 
Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius each 
of whom (except Nerva, who was elected by 
the Senate) was the adopted son of his pre- 
decessor. Their period (96-180) is said to 
have been the happiest in the whole history of 

Adoration of the Cross. See ANDREW, ST. 
Adrammelech (a dram' e lek). A Babylonian 
deity to whom, apparently, infants were burnt 
in sacrifice (2 Kings xvii, 31). Possibly the 
sun god worshipped at Sippar (i.e. Sephar- 

Adrastus (a dras' tus). (i) A mythical Greek 
king of Argos, leader of the expedition, of the 
" Seven Against Thebes " (see under SEVEN). 
(ii) In Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (Bk. xx), 
an Indian prince who aided the King of Egypt 
against the crusaders. He was slain by 

Adriatic. See BRIDE OF THE SEA. 
Adullamites (a duT a mfts). The adherents of 
R. Lowe and E. Horsman, seceders in 1866 
from the Reform Party. John Bright said of 
these members that they retired to the cave of 
Adullam, and tried to gather round them all 
the discontented. The allusion is to David, 
who, in his flight from Saul 

Escaped to the cave Adullam; and every one that 
was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and 
every one that was discontented, gathered themselves 
unto him. 

1 Sam. xxii, 1, 2. 

Adulterous Bible. See BIBLE, SPECIALLY 

Advancer. In venery this is the name given 
to the second branch of a buck's horns. 

Advent (Lat. advent us, the coming to). The 
four weeks immediately preceding Christmas, 
commemorating the first and second coming 
of Christ; the first to redeem, and the second 
to judge the world. The season begins on 
St. Andrew's Day (30th Nov.), or the Sunday 
nearest to it. 

Adversary* The. A name frequently given in 
English literature to the Devil (from 1 Pet. 
v, 8). 

Advocate (Lat. ad, to; vocare, to call). One 
called to assist pleaders in a court of law. 

The Devil's Advocate. A carping or adverse 
critic. From the Advocatus diaboli, the person 
appointed to contest the claims of a candidate 
for canonization before a papal court. He 
advances all he can against the candidate, 
and is opposed by the Advocatus dei (God's 
Advocate), who says all he can in support of 
the proposal. 

Advocates' Library, in Edinburgh, was 
founded in 1682, by Sir George Mackenzie of 
Rosehaugh, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, 
i.e. the body of members of the Scottish bar. 
It is one of the libraries to which books must 
be sent for purposes of copyright (g.v.). 

Advowson (Lat. advocatio, a calling to, a 
summons: cp. ADVOCATE). Originally the 
obligation to be the advocate of a benefice 
or living and to defend its rights, the word 
now means the right of appointing the incum- 
bent of a church or ecclesiastical benefice. 

The different advowsons are: 

Advowson appendant. A right of presenta- 
tion which belongs to and passes with the 
manor. This usually had its origin in the 
ownership of the advowson by the person 
who built or endowed the church. 

Advowson coilative 


/Eolian Rocks 

Advowson coilative. In which the bishop 
himself is patron and, as he cannot "present" 
to himself, does by the act of "collation" or 
conferring the benefice all that is done in 
other cases by presentation and institution. 

Advowson donative. In which a secular 
patron (usually the Crown) has the right of 
disposing of the benefice to any legally qualified 
person without institution or induction or 
examination by the bishop or ordinary. 

Advowson in gross. An advowson which 
has become legally separated from the manor 
to which it was appendant. See GROSS. 

Advowson presentative. In which the patron 
(who may be a layman) presents to the bishop 
who, unless he is satisfied that there is sufficient 
legal or ecclesiastical disability, must "in- 
stitute" the clerk. 

Adytum (Gr. aduton, not to be entered; duo, 
to go). The Holy of Holies in the Greek and 
Roman temples, into which the general public 
were not admitted; hence, a sanctum. 

/Ediles. Those who, in ancient Rome, had 
charge of the public buildings (cedes), such as 
the temples, theatres, baths, aqueducts, 
sewers, including roads and streets also. 

^Egeus. A fabulous king of Athens who gave 
the name to the ^Egean Sea. His son, 
Theseus, went to Crete to deliver Athens from 
the tribute exacted by Minos. Theseus said, 
if he succeeded he would hoist a white sail 
on his home-voyage, as a signal of his safety. 
This he neglected to do; and ^Egeus, who 
watched the ship from a rock, thinking his 
son had perished, threw himself into the sea. 
This incident is repeated in the tale of 
Tristram and Isolde. See TRISTRAM. 

/Eginetan Sculptures. Sculptures discovered 
in 18H at the ternple of Pallas Athene, in the 
little island of ^Egina. They consist of two 
groups of five and ten figures representing 
exploits of Greek heroes at Troy, and probably 
date from about 500 B.C., i.e. a little before 
Phidias. They were restored by Thorwaldsen, 
and were long the most remarkable ornaments 
of the Glyptothek, at Munich. 

/Egir (e'jir, e'gir). In Norse mythology the 
god of the ocean, husband of Ran. They 
had nine daughters (the billows), who wore 
white robes and veils. 

/Egis (e'jis) (Gr. goat skin). The shield of 
Jupiter made by Vulcan and covered with the 
skin of the goat Amalthaea, who had suckled 
the infant Zeus. It was sometimes lent to 
Athena, daughter of Zeus, and when in her 
possession carried the head of the Gorgon. 
By the shaking of his a^gis Zeus produced 
storms and thunder; in art it is usually repre- 
sented as a kind of cloak fringed with serpents; 
and it is symbolical of divine protection 
hence the modern use of the word in such 
phrases as / throw my aegis over you, I give 
you my protection. 

/Egrotat (egrS'tit) (Lat. he is ill). In 
university parlance, a medical certificate of 
indisposition to exempt the bearer from 
sitting examinations. 

'A E I', a common motto on jewellery, is 
Greek, and stands for "for ever and for aye." 

A. E. L O. U. The device adopted by 
Frederick V, Archduke of Austria, on becom- 
ing the Emperor Frederick IH in 1440. The 
letters had been used by his predecessor, Albert 
II, and then stood for 

Albertus Electus Imperator Optirnus Vivat. 
The meaning that Frederick gave them was 

Archidux Electus Imperator Optime Vivat. 
Many other versions are known, including 

Austnae Est Imperare Orbi Universe. 

Alles Erdreich 1st Oesterreich Unterthan. 

Austria's Empire Is Overall Universal. 
To which wags added after the war of 1866 
Austria's Empire Is Ousted Utterly. 

Frederick the Great is said to have translated 
the motto thus : 

Austria Erit In Orbe Ultima (Austria will be lowest 
In the world). 

Aemilian Law (ermTi an). A law made by 
the praetor Aemilius Mamercus empowering 
the eldest praetor to drive a nail in the Capitol 
on the ides of September. This was a 
ceremony by which the Romans supposed 
that a pestilence could be stopped or a 
calamity averted. 

(e ne' as). The hero of Virgil's epic, 
son of Anchises, king of Dardanus, and 
Aphrodite. According to Homer he fought 
against the Greeks in the Trojan War and 
after the sack of Troy reigned in the Troad. 
Later legends tell how he carried his father 
Anchises on his shoulders from the flames of 
Troy, and after roaming about for many 
years, came to Italy, where he founded a 
colony which the Romans claim as their 
origin. The epithet applied to him is ptus, 
meaning "dutiful." 

/neid. The epic poem of Virgil (in twelve 
books). So called from JEneas and the suffix 
"is, plur. ides (belonging to). 

The story of Sinon (says Macrobius) and 
the taking of Troy is borrowed from Pisander. 

The loves of Dido and ^Bneas are taken from 
those of Medea and Jason, in Apollonius of 

The story of the Wooden Horse and burning 
of Troy is from Arctinus of Miletus. 

^Eolian Harp (e 5' H an). The wind harp. A 
box on which strings are stretched. Being 
placed where a draught gets to the strings, they 
utter musical sounds. 

Awake, Eolian lyre, awake, 

And give to rapture all thy trembling strings. 

GRAY: Progress of Poesy. 

/Eolian Mode, in Music", the ninth of the 
church modes, also called the Hypodqrian, 
the range being from A to A, the dominant 
F or E, and the mediant E or C. It is 
characterized as "grand and pompous though 
sometimes soothing." 

. A geological term for those 
rocks the formation and distribution of which 
has been due more to the agency of wind 
than to that of water. Most of the New Red 
Sandstones, and many of the Old Red, are of 
^Eolian origin. 

^Eolic Digamma 



Digamma (e or ik dr gam a). The 
sixth letter of the early Greek alphabet (F), 
sounded like our w. Thus oinos with the 
digamma was sounded woinos; whence the 
Latin vinum, our wine. Gamma, or g, was 
shaped thus P, hence digamma= double g; 
it was early disused as a letter, but was retained 
as the symbol for the numeral 6. True JEolic 
was the dialect of Lesbos. 
/Eolus (e' 6 lus), In Roman mythology, was 
"god of the winds." 

/Eon (e'on) (Gr. aion). An age of the universe, 
an immeasurable length of time; hence the 
personification of an age, a god, any being 
that is eternal. Basilides reckons there have 
been 365 such JEons, or gods; but Valentinius 
restricts the number to 30. 
Aerated Waters (a' era ted). Effervescent 
waters charged (either artificially or naturally) 
with carbon dioxide. 

^Eschylus (es' ki lus) (525-456 B c.), the father 
of the Greek tragic drama. Titles of seventy- 
two of his plays are known, but only seven 
are now extant. Fable has it that he was 
killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle (to 
break the shell) on his bald head, which the 
bird mistook for a stone, 

of France. Prosper Jolyot de 
Crebillon (1674-1762). 

/Esculapius (es ku la' pi us). The Latin form 

of the Greek Asklepios, god of medicine and 

of healing. Now used for "a medical prac- 

titioner." The usual offering to him was a 

cock, hence the phrase "to sacrifice a cock 

to ^Esculapius" to return thanks (or pay 

the doctor's bill) after recovery from an illness. 

When men a dangerous disease did scape, 

Of old, they gave a cock to ./Esculape. 

BEN JONSON : Epigram. 

Legend has it that he assumed the form of a 
serpent (#.v.) when he appeared at Rome 
during a pestilence; hence it is that the goddess 
of Health bears in her hand a serpent. 

(e' zer). The collective name of the 
celestial gods of Scandinavia, who lived in 
Asgard ($.v,). (1) Odin, the chief; (2) Thor 
(his eldest son, god of thunder); (3) Tiu 
(another son, god of wisdom); (4) Balder 
(another son, Scandinavian Apollo); (5) JBragi 
(god of poetry); (6) Vidar (god of silence); 
(7) Hoder the blind (slayer of Balder); (8) Her- 
moder (Odin's son and messenger) ; (9) Hoenir 
(a minor god); (10) Odnir (husband of Freyja, 
the Scandinavian Venus); (11) Loki (the god 
of mischief); (12) Vali (Odin's youngest son)* 

^Eson's Bath (e' son). 

I perceive a man may be twice a child before the 
days of dotage; and stands in need of ^Eson's Bath 
before three score. Sir THOMAS BROWNE: Religio 
Medici, Section 42. 

The reference is to Medea rejuvenating 
/Esqn, father of Jason, with the juices of a con- 
coction made of sundry articles. After ^Eson 
had imbibed these juices, Ovid says : 

Barba comaeque, 
Canitie posita, nigrum rapuere, colorem. 

Metamorphoses, vii, 288. 

/Esop's Fables (e'sop) are traditionally 
ascribed to ^Esop, a deformed Phrygian slave 

of the 6th century B.C.; but many of them 
are far older, some having been discovered on 
Egyptian papyri of 800 or 1,000 years earlier. 

Babirus, probably an Italian, compiled a 
collection of 137 of the fables in choliambic 
verse about A,D. 230, and this version was 
for long used in the mediseval schools. 

Pilpay (0.v.) has been called the ^Esop of 

Action (e' ti 6n) in Spenser's Colin Clout's 
Come Home Again typifies Michael Drayton, 
the poet. 

Aetites (aeti'tez) (Gr. aetos, an eagle). 
Eagle-stones: hollow stones composed of 
several crusts, having a loose stone within, 
which were supposed at one time to be found 
in eagles' nests, to which medicinal virtues 
were attributed, and which were supposed to 
have the property of detecting theft. See 
Pliny x, 4, and xxx, 44; also Lyly's Euphues 

The precious stone Aetites which is found in the 
filthy nests of the eagle. 

^Etolian Hero, The (eto'lian). Diomede, 
who was king of jtolia. Ovid. 
Afreet, Afrit (at' ret). In Mohammedan 
mythology the most powerful but one 
(Marids) of the five classes of Jinn, or devils. 
They are of gigantic stature, very malicious, 
and inspire great dread. Solomon, we are 
told, once tamed an Afreet, and made it 
submissive to his will. 

Africa. Teneo te> Africa. When Qesar 
landed at Adrumetum, in Africa, he tripped 
and fell a bad omen; but, with wonderful 
presence of mind, he pretended that he had 
done^ so intentionally, and kissing the soil, 
exclaimed, "Thus do I take possession of 
thee, O Africa/' The story is told also of 
Scipio, and of Qesar again at his landing in 
Britain, and of others in similar circumstances. 
Africa semper aliquid novi affert. "Africa 
is always producing some novelty." A Greek 
proverb quoted (in Latin) by Pliny, in allusion 
to the ancient belief that Africa abounded in 
strange monsters. 

African Sisters, The. The Hesperides (#.v.), 
who lived in Africa. 

Afridi (a fre' di). A Pathan tribe of the Indo- 
Afghan frontier against whom the British sent 
several punitive expeditions in the late 19th 

After-cast. An obsolete expression for some- 
thing done too late; literally, a throw of the 
dice after the game is ended. 

Ever he playeth an after-cast 
Of all that he shall say or do. 


After-clap. A catastrophe or misfortune 
after an affair is supposed to be over, as in 
thunderstorms one may sometimes hear a 
"clap" after the rain subsides, and the clouds 

What plaguy mischief and mishaps 
Do dog him still with after-claps. 

BUTLER: Hudibras, Pt. i, 3. 
After-guard. The men whose duty is to tend 
the gear at the after part of a ship. The ex- 
pression is also used for the officers, who have 
their quarters aft- 




After me the deluge. See APRILS MOI LE 


Aft-meal. An extra meal; a meal taken 
after and in addition to the ordinary meals. 
At aft-meals who shall pay for the wine* 7 

THYNNE: Debate (c. 1608). 

Agag (a' gag), in Dryden's Absalom and 
Achitophel, is Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, the 
magistrate before whom Titus Gates made his 
declaration, and who was afterwards found 
barbarously murdered in a ditch near Primrose 
Hill. Agag was hewed to pieces by Samuel. 

And Corah [Titus Gates] might for Agag's murder 

In terms as coarse as Samuel used to Saul 

I, 675-6. 

The name is usually associated with the 
Biblical phrase, "And Agag came to him 
[Samuel] delicately" (1 Sam. xv, 32). 

Agamemnon (ag a mem' non). In Greek 
legend, the King of Mycenae, son of Atreus, 
and leader of the Greeks at the siege of Troy. 

Goodly Agamemnon . . . 
The glorie of the stock of Tantalus, 
And famous light of all the Greekish hosts, 
Under whose conduct most victorious, 
The Dorick flames consumed the Iliack posts. 
SPENSER: Virgil's Gnat. 

His brother was Menelaos. 

His daughters were Iphigenia, Electra, 
Iphianassa, and Chrysothemis (Sophocles). 

He was grandson of Pelops. 

He was killed in a bath by his wife Clytem- 
nestra, after his return from Troy. 

His son was Orestes, who slew his mother 
for murdering his father, and was called 

His wife was Clytemnestra, who lived in 
adultery with Egistheus. At Troy he fell in 
love with Cassandra, a daughter of King 

Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona, a quotation 
from Horace (Od. IV, ix), paraphrased by 
Byron in Don Juan (I, v) : 
Brave men were living before Agamemnon 

And since, exceeding valorous and sage, 
A good deal like him too, though quite the same 

But then they shone not on the poet's page, 
And so have been forgotten. 

Aganippe (ag a nip' i). In Greek legend a 
fountain of Bceotia at the foot of Mount 
Helicon, dedicated to the Muses, because it 
had the virtue of imparting poetic inspiration. 
From this fountain the Muses are sometimes 
called Aganippides. 

Agape (ag' & pi). A love-feast (Gr. agape, 
love). The early Christians held a love-feast 
before or after communion when contribu- 
tions were made for the poor. In course of 
time they became a scandal, and were con- 
demned at the Council of Carthage, 397. 
The name is also given by Spenser to the fairy 
mother of Priamond, Diamond, Triamond, 
and Cambina (Faerie Queene, IV, ii, 41 fT.). 
Agapemone (g a pern' 6 ni). An association 
of men and women followers of Henry James 
Prince (1811-1899), who founded a sect m 
the 60s of last century, holding the theory 
that the time of prayer was past and the time 
of grace come. They lived on a common 

fund at an Agapemone, or Abode of Love, at 
Spaxton, Somersetshire, and were constantly 
in trouble with the authorities. In the early 
years of the present century the "Agapemo- 
mtes" again attracted attention by the claims 
of one Smyth Piggott to be Christ. 

Agapetae (ag a pe' te) (Gr. beloved). A group 
of 3rd-century ascetic women who, under 
vows of virginity, contracted spiritual mar- 
riage with the monks and attended to their 
wants. Owing to the scandals occasioned the 
custom was condemned by St. Jerome and 
suppressed by various Councils. 

Agate (ag' at). So called, says Pliny (xxxvii, 
10), from Achates or Gagates, a river in 
Sicily, near which it is found in abundance. 
These, these are they, if we consider well, 
That saphirs and the diamonds doe excell, 
The pearle, the emerauld, and the turkesse bleu, 
The sanguine corrall, amber's golden hiew, 
The chnstall, jacinth, achate, ruby red. 

TAYLOR :The Waterspout (1630). 

Agate is supposed to render a person 
invisible, and to turn the sword of foes 
against themselves. 

A very small person has been called an 
agate, from the old custom of carving the 
stone with diminutive figures for use as seals. 
Shakespeare speaks of Queen Mab as no 
bigger than an agate-stone on the forefinger 
of an alderman. 

I was never manned with an agate till now. 

SHAKESPEARE: 2 Henry IV, i, 2. 

For the same reason the very small type 
between nonpareil and pearl, known in 
England as "ruby, 5 ' was called agate in 

Agatha, St. (g' a tha), was tortured and mar- 
tyred at Catania, in Sicily, during the 
Decian persecution of 251. She is sometimes 
represented in art with a pair of shears or 
pincers, and holding a salver on which are 
her breasts, these having been cut off. Her 
feast day is 5 February. 

Agave (a ga' vi), named from Agave, daughter 
of Cadmus (<?.v.), or "American aloe," a 
Mexican plant, naturalized in many parts of 
Europe, and fabled by English gardeners to 
bloom only once in a hundred years. It was 
introduced into Spain in 1561, and is used in 
Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, and elsewhere for 
fences. The Mohammedans of Egypt regard 
it as a charm and religious symbol; and pil- 
grims to Mecca hang a leaf of it over their 
door as a sign of their pilgrimage and as a 
charm against evil spirits. 

Agdistes (ag dis' tez). The name is that of a 
Phrygian deity connected with the symbolic 
worship of the powers of Nature and by some 
identified with Cybele. He was hermaphro- 
dite, and sprang from the stone Agdus, parts 
of which were taken by Deucalion and Pyrrha 
to cast over their shoulders for repeopling the 
world after the flood. 

Age. A word used of a long but more or 
less indefinite period of history, human and 
pre-human, distinguished by certain real or 
mythical characteristics and usually named 
from these characteristics or from persons 

Age 16 

connected with them, as the Golden 
the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages (?#.v.), the 
Age of the Antonines (from Antoninus Pius, 
138, to Marcus Aurelius, 180), the Prehistoric 
Age, etc. Thus, Hallam calls the 9th century 
the Age of the Bishops, and the 12th, the Age 
of the Popes. 

Varro (Fragments, p. 219, Scaliger's edition, 
1623) recognizes three ages: From the begin- 
ning of mankind to the Deluge, a time wholly 
unknown. From the Deluge to the First 
Olympiad, called the mythical period. From 
the first Olympiad to the present time, called 
the historic period. 

Shakespeare's passage on the seven ages of 
man (As You Like It, ii, 7) is well known; and 
Titian symbolized the three ages of man thus: 
An infant in a cradle. A shepherd playing a 
flute. An old man meditating on two skulls. 
According to Lucretius also there are three 
ages, distinguished by the materials employed 
in implements (v. 1282), viz.: The age of stone, 
when celts or implements of stone were 
employed. The age of bronze, when imple- 
ments were made of copper or brass. The 
age of iron, when implements were made of 
iron, as at present. 

The term Stone Age as now used includes 
the Eolithic, Palaeolithic, and Neolithic Ages 

Hesiod names rive ages, viz. : The Golden or 
patriarchal, under the care of Saturn. The 
Silver or voluptuous, under the care of Jupiter. 
The Braien or warlike, under the care of 
Neptune. The Heroic or renaissant, under 
the care of Mars. The Iron or present, under 
the care of Pluto. 

Age of Animals. An old Celtic rhyme, put 
into modern English, says: 

Thrice the age of a dog is that of a horse; 
Thrice the age of a horse is that of a man; 
Thrice the age of a man is that of a deer; 
Thrice the age of a deer is that of an eagle. 

Age of Consent. This is the age at which a 
girl's consent is valid; beneath that age to 
have carnal knowledge of her is a criminal 
offence. In English and Scottish law the 
age of consent is 16. 

Age of Discretion. In English law a sub- 
ject is deemed capable of using his discretion 
at the age of 14. 

Canonical Age. Ecclesiastical law enjoins 
that the obligation of fasting begins at the 
age of 21 ; profession of religious vows after 
the age of 16; a bishop must have completed 
his 30th year. 

Age hoc (a'jehok). "Attend to this." In 
sacrifice the Roman crier perpetually repeated 
these words to arouse attention. In the 
Common Prayer Book the attention of the 
congregation is frequently aroused by the 
exhortation, "Let us pray," though nearly 
the whole service is that of prayer. 

Agelasta (aj e las' ta) (Gr. joyless). The stone 
on which Ceres rested when worn down by 
fatigue in searching for her daughter, Perse- 

Agenor (ajen'or). A son of Neptune, and 
founder of a nation in Phoenicia.' His 


descendants, Cadmus, Perseus, Europa, etc., 
are known as the Agenorides. 

Agent. Is man a free agent? This is a 
question of theology, which has long been 
mooted. The point is this: If God fore- 
ordains all our actions, they must take place 
as he foreordains them, and man acts as a 
watch or clock; but if, on the other hand, 
man is responsible for his actions, he must be 
free to act as his inclination leads him. Those 
who hold the former view are called neces- 
sitarians', those who hold the latter, liber- 

Aggie Westons, Aggies. The Royal Sailors' 
Rest Homes in Portsmouth, Devonport, and 
Chatham, founded by Dame Agnes E. 
Weston (1840-1918). 

Agglutinate Language. A language the chief 
characteristic of which is that its words are 
simple or root words combined into com- 
pounds, without loss of original meaning. 
Thus, inkstand and comeatable are agglutinate 
words. Agglutination is a feature of most 
Turanian languages: it implies that the root 
words are glued together to form other words, 
and may be "unglued" so as to leave the 
roots distinct. 

Agio (a' jo) (Ital. ease, convenience). A com- 
mercial term denoting the percentage of charge 
made for the exchange of paper money into 

Agis (a'jis). King of Sparta (338-330 B.C.). 
He tried to deliver Greece from the Mace- 
donian yoke and was slain in the attempt. 
The generous victim to that vain attempt 
To save a rotten state Agis, who saw 
Even Sparta's self to servile avarice sink. 

THOMSON: Winter, 488-9. 

Agist (ajisf). To take in cattle to graze at 
a certain sum. The pasturage of these beasts 
is called agistment. The words are from the 
French agister (to lie down). 

Aglaia (agll'a). One of the three Graces 
(see GRACES). 

Aglaonice (ag la 6 nf si), the Thessalian, being 
able to calculate eclipses, pretended to have 
the moon under her command, and to be 
able when she chose to draw it from heaven. 
Her secret being found out, her vaunting 
became a laughing-stock, and gave birth to 
the Greek proverb cast at braggarts, "Yes, 
as the Moon obeys Aglaonice." 

Agnes. A sort of female " Verdant Green " 
(#.v.), who is so unsophisticated that she does 
not even know what love means: from a 
character in Moliere's VEcole des Femmes. 

Agnes, St., was martyred in the Diocletian 
persecution (about 303) at the age of 13. She 
was tied to a stake, but the fire went out, and 
Aspasius, set to watch the martyrdom, drew 
his sword, and cut off her head. St. Agnes 
is the patron of young virgins. She is com- 
memorated on January 21st. Upon St. 
Agnes's night, says Aubrey in his Miscellany, 
though he should have said St. Agnes' Eve, 
you take a row of pins, and pull out every 
one, one after another. Saying a paternoster, 
stick a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream 



Ahura Mazda 

of him or her you shall marry; and in Keats's 
The Eve of St. Agnes, we are told 

how, upon St. Agnes' Eve, 
Young virgins might have visions of delight, 
And soft adorings from their loves receive 
Upon the honey'd middle of the night. 
If ceremonies due they did aright; 
As, supperless to bed they must retire. 

Agnoites (ag' no itz) (Gr. a, not; gignoskein, 
to know). 

(1) Certain heretics in the 4th century who 
maintained that God had no certain know- 
ledge of the future. God did not know every- 

(2) Another sect, in the 6th century, who 
maintained that Christ did not know the time 
of the day of judgment. 

Agnostic (Gr. a+ not; gignoskein, to know). 
A term coined by Prof. Huxley in 1869 (with 
allusion to St. Paul's mention of an altar to 
"the Unknown God") to indicate the mental 
attitude of those who withhold their assent 
from whatever is incapable of proof, such as 
an unseen world, a First Cause, etc. Agnostics 
neither dogmatically accept nor reject such 
matters, but simply say Agnosco I do not 
know they are not capable of proof, Q?, 

Agnus Bell. See AGNUS DEI. 
Agnus-castus. See VITEX. 
Agnus Dei (ag'n us de' I, da' e). A cake of 
wax or dough stamped with the figure of a 
lamb supporting the banner of the Cross, and 
distributed by the Pope on the Sunday after 
Easter. This is a relic of the ancient custom 
of collecting and distributing to the worship- 
pers the wax 9f the Paschal candle, which 
was stamped with the Iamb. The part of the 
Mass and English communion service begin- 
ning with the words Agnus JDei, qui tolles 
peccata mundi (O Lamb of God, that takest 
away the sins of the world), is also known as 
the Agnus Dei. In Catholic services it is 
introduced by the ringing of the Agnus bell. 
Agog (a gogO- He is all agog, in nervous 
anxiety, on the qui vive. The word is con- 
nected with the Old French phrase en gogues> 
meaning "in mirth": the origin of O.F. gogue 
and Norman goguer, to be mirthful, is 

Agonistes (a gon is' tez). This word in Samson 
Agonistes (the title of Milton's drama) is Greek 
for "champion," so the title means simply 
"Samson the Champion." Cp. AGONY. 
Agonistics (a gon is' tiks). A fanatical sect 
of peripatetic ascetics, adherents to the 
Donatist schismatics of the early 4th century. 
They gave themselves this name (meaning 
"Champions," or "Soldiers," of the Cross); 
the Catholics called them the Circumcelliones, 
from their wandering about among the houses 
of the peasants (circum cellas). 
Agony, meaning great pain or anguish, is 
derived through French from the Greek word 
agonici) from agon, which meant first ^ "an 
assembly," then "an arena for contests," and 
hence the "contest" itself; so agonia, mean- 
ing first a struggle for mastery in the games, 
came to be used for any struggle, and hence 
for mental struggle or anguish. 

Agony column, A column in a newspaper 
containing advertisements of missing relatives 
and friends. 

Agrarian Law (a grar' i an) (Lat. ager y land). 
In Roman history, a law regulating landed 
property or the division of conquered terri- 
tory; hence, a law for making land the common 
property of a nation, and not the particular 
property of individuals. In a modified form, 
a redistribution of land, giving to each citizen 
a portion. 

Ague, f from Lat. acuta, sharp, is really an 
adjective, as in French fievre aigue, English 
folklore gives a number of curious charms for 
curing ague, and there was an old superstition 
that if the fourth book of the Iliad was laid 
under the head of a patient it would cure him 
at once. This book tells how Pandarus 
wounds Menelaus, and contains the cure of 
Menelaus by Machaon, " a son of ^Escula- 

Aguecheek. Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a 
straight-haired country squire, stupid even 
to silliness, self-conceited ,. living to eat, and 
wholly unacquainted with the world of 
fashion. The character is in Shakespeare's 
Twelfth Night. 

Agur's Wish (a' gerz) (Prov. xxx, 8). "Give 

me neither poverty nor riches." 

Ahasuerus (a haz u er' us). Under this name 
the Emperor Xerxes (486-465 B.C.) appears 
in the biblical books of Ezra and Esther. 
The Ahasuerus of Daniel has not been 
identified. This is also the name given to the 
Wandering Jew 

Ahithophel (a hith' 6 fel). A treacherous 
friend and adviser. Ahithophel was David's 
counsellor, but joined Absalom in revolt, and 
advised him "like the oracle of God" (2 Sam. 
xvi, 20-23). See ACHITOPHEL. 

Ahmed, Prince (a' med), in the Arabian 
Nights, is noted for the tent given him by the 
fairy Paribanou, which would cover a whole 
army, but might be carried in one's pocket; 
and for the apple of Samarcand, which would 
cure all diseases. 'The qualities ascribed to 
the magic tent are the common property of 
many legends and romances. See CARPET; 

Aholah and Aholibah (a ho' la, ahoU'ba) 
[Ezek. xxiii]. Personifications of prostitution. 
Used by the prophet to signify religious adul- 
tery or running after false faiths. These 
Hebrew names signify "she in whom are 
tents," and have reference to the worship at 
the high places, 

Ahriman (a'riman). In the dual system of 
Zoroaster, the spiritual enemy of mankind, 
also called Angra Mamyu, and Druj (deceit). 
He has existed since the beginning of the 
world, and is in eternal conflict with Ahura 
Mazda, or Ormuzd (#.v.). 
Their evil principle, the demon Ahriman, might be 
represented as the rival or as the creature of The 
God of Light. 

GIBBON: Decline and Fall, cfa. U. 

Ahura Mazda. See ORMUZD. 

Aidetoi . . . 



Aide toi et le Ciel t'aidera (ad twa a 16 se el 
ta de ra'X A line from La Fontaine (vi, 18), 
meaning "God will help those who help 
themselves," taken as the motto of a French 
political society, established in 1824. The 
society intended to induce the middle classes 
to resist the Government; it aided in bringing 
about the Revolution of 1830, and was dis- 
solved in 1832. Guizot was at one time its 
president, and Le Globe and Le National its 

Aigrette (a'gret). French for the Egret, or 
Lesser White Heron, the beautiful crest of 
which has been worn as a hat decoration, as 
a tuft for military helmets, etc. The French 
call any jewelled or feathery head-ornament 
an aigrette. 

Aim, to give. A term in archery, meaning to 
give the archers information how near their 
arrows fall to the mark aimed at; hence, to 
give anybody inside information. 

But, gentle people, give me aim awhile, 
For nature puts me to a heavy task. 

SHAKESPEARE: Titus Andromcus, v, 3. 

To cry aim. To applaud, encourage. In 
archery it was customary to appoint certain 
persons to cry "Aim!" for the sake of 
encouraging those who were about to shoot. 

All my neighbours shall cry aim. 
SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, iii, 2. 

Aim-crier. An abettor, one who encour- 
ages. In archery, the person employed to 
"cry aim." 

Thou smiling aim-crier at princess' fall. 

GERVAIS MARKHAM: English Arcadia (1638). 

Air. Held by Anaxagoras to be the primary 
form of matter, and given by Aristotle as one 
of the four elements. See ELEMENT. 

The air of the court, the air of gentility: a 
good air (manner, deportment) means the 
pervading habit; hence, to give oneself airs 
to assume in manner, appearance, and tone, a 
superiority to which one has no claim. 

The plural is essential in this case; air, in 
the singular is generally complimentary, but 
in the plural conveys censure. In Italian, 
we find the phrase, Si da delle arie. 

Air (in music) is that melody which pre- 
dominates and gives its character to the piece. 
Hot air. See HOT. 

To air one's opinion. To state opinions 
openly, to give air to one's opinions. 

Air-brained. A mis-spelling of hare-brained 

Air-line. A direct line, taken as a crow 
flies through the air. Cp. BEE-LINE. 

Airship. Formerly an epithet applied to 
any kind of balloon, but now restricted to a 
large aerial vehicle, depending for flotation 
upon gases contained m a balloon or in a 
series of enclosed ballonets, and, instead of 
being at the mercy of the winds, capable of 
being driven along and steered by mechanical 

Aisle. The north and south wings of a 
church, from the Lat., ala (axilla, ascetta), 

through the French, aile, a wing. The 
intrusive "s" did not take root till the middle 
of the 18th century, and is probably due to a 
confusion with "isle." In some church 
documents the aisles are called alleys (walks) ; 
the choir of Lincoln Cathedral used to be 
called the "Chanters' alley"; and Olden tells 
us that when he came to be churchwarden, in 
1638, he made the Puritans "come up the 
middle alley on their knees to the raile." 

Aitch-bone. Corruption of "naitch-bone," 
i.e. the haunch-bone (Lat. nates, a haunch or 
buttock). For other instances of the 
coalescence of the "n" of "an" with an 
initial vowel (or the coalescence of the "n" 
with the article), see APRON : NEWT. 

Ajax (ajaks). (1) The Greater, The most 
famous hero of the Trojan War after Achilles; 
king of Salamis, a man of giant stature, 
daring, and self-confident, son of Telamon. 
When the armour of Hector was awarded to 
Ulysses instead of to himself, he turned mad 
from vexation and stabbed himself. Homer 
and later poets. 

(2) The Less. Son of Oileus, King of 
Locris, in Greece. The night Troy was taken, 
he offered violence to Cassandra, the pro- 
phetic daughter of Priam ; in consequence of 
which his ship was driven on a rock, and he 
perished at sea. Homer and later poets. 

Akbar (ak' bar). An Arabic title, meaning 
"Very Great." Akbar Khan, the "very 
great Khan," is applied especially to the great 
Mogul emperor in India who reigned 1556- 
1605. His tomb at Secundra, a few miles 
from Agra, is one of the wonders of the East. 
Alabama (alaba'ma). The name of this 
state of the U.S.A. is the Indian name of a 
river in the state, the meaning of which is 
"here we rest." 

Alabama claims were made by the U.S.A. 
against Great Britain for losses caused during 
the Civil War by Confederate vesselsthe 
chief _ being the Alabama fitted out in or 
supplied from British ports. The matter was 
referred to an international tribunal which, 
in 1871, awarded the U.S.A. $15,500,000. 
Alabaster. A stone of great purity and 
whiteness, used for ornaments. The name 
is said by Pliny (Nat. Hist., xxxvi, 8) to be 
from an Egyptian town, Alabastron; but 
nothing is known of this town, nor of the 
ultimate origin of the Greek word. 

Aladdin, (a ISd' in) in the Arabian Nights, 
obtains a magic lamp, and has a splendid 
palace built by the genie of the lamp. He 
marries the daughter of the sultan of China, 
loses his lamp, and his palace is transported 
to Africa. 

Aladdin's lamp. The source of wealth and 
good fortune. After Aladdin came to his 
wealth and was married, he suffered his lamp 
to hang up and get rusty. 

Aladdin's ring, given him by the African 
magician, was a "preservative against every 
evil." J 

To finish Aladdin's window i.e. to attempt 
to complete something begun by a great 




genius, but left imperfect. The palace built 
by the genie of the lamp had twenty-four 
windows, all but one being set in frames of 
precious stones; the last was left for the sultan 
to finish; but after exhausting his treasures, 
the sultan was obliged to abandon the task 
as hopeless. 

Alamo (al' am o). American cottonwood tree. 
In 1718 Franciscan monks founded the 
Mission of San Antonio de Valero at San 
Antonio, Texas. It was commonly called the 
Alamo Mission since it stood in a grove of 
cottonwood trees. By 1793 it was no longer 
a mission but the buildings were sometimes 
used as a fort. In 1806 a Texan garrison of 
1 80 was besieged, overpowered and slaughtered 
by 4000 Mexicans under Santa Anna. In the 
subsequent campaign in which the Texans, 
under Sam Houston, defeated the Mexicans 
and captured Santa Anna, " remember the 
Alamo" became the Texan war cry. The 
buildings are now a National Monument. 

Alans. Large dogs, of various species, used 
for hunting. They were introduced to Britain 
from Spain, whither they are said to have 
been brought by the Alani, a Caucasian 
tribe which invaded Western Europe in the 
4th century. They were used in war as well 
as for hunting, and Chaucer, in his Knight's 
Tale, describes Lycurgus on his throne, 
guarded by white "alauntes, twenty or mo, 
as grete as any steer," wearing muzzles and 
golden collars. Scott, in the Talisman (ch. vi), 
speaks of three 

Skins of animals slain in the chase were stretched 
on the ground . . . and upon a heap of these lay 
three alans, as they were called, i.e. wolf greyhounds 
of the largest size. 

AI Araf (al a' raf) (Arab, the partition, from 
''arafa, to divide). A region, according to the 
Koran, between Paradise and Jahannam (hell), 
for those who are neither mprally good nor 
bad, such as infants, lunatics, and idiots. 
Others regard it as a place where those whose 
good and evil deeds were about equally 
balanced can await their ultimate admission 
to heaven, a kind of "limbo" (<?.v.). 
Alarum Bell. "Alarum" is a variant of 
"alarm," produced by rolling the "r" in 
prolonging the final syllable. In feudal 
times a 'larum bell was rung in the castle in 
times of danger to summon the retainers to 

Awake! awake! 

Ring the alarum bell' Murder and treason! 
SHAKESPEARE: Macbeth, ri, 3. 

The word is now used only (except some- 
times in poetry) for the peal or chime of a 
warning bell or clock, or the mechanism 
producing it. 

Alasnam (a las' nam). In the Arabian Nights 
Alasnam had eight diamond statues, but was 
required to find a ninth more precious still, 
to fill the vacant pedestal The prize was 
found in the woman who became his wife, at 
once the most beautiful and the most perfect 
of her race. 

Alasnanvs mirror. The "touchstone of 
virtue," given to Alasnam by one of the 
Genii. If he looked in this mirror and it 

remained unsullied so would the maiden he 
had in mind; if it clouded, she would prove 

Alastor (a las' tor). The evil genius of a house; 
a Nemesis. Cicero says: "Who meditated 
killing himself that he might become the 
Alastor of Augustus, whom he hated.' 
Shelley has a poem entitled Alastor, or The 
Spirit of Solitude. The word is Greek (alastor, 
the avenging god, a title applied to Zeus); 
the Romans had their Jupiter Vindex; and we 
read in the Bible, "Vengeance is mine; I will 
repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. xii, 19). 

Alauda. A Roman legion raised by Julius 
Caesar in Gaul, and so called because they 
carried a lark's tuft on the top of their helmets. 

Alawy (ala'wi). The Nile is so called by 

the Abyssinians. The word means "the 


Alb (alb) (Lat. albus, white). A long white 

vestment worn by priests under the chasuble 

and over the cassock when saying Mass. It 

is emblematical of purity and continence. 

Alban, St. (61' ban), like St. Denis and many 
other saints, is sometimes represented as 
carrying his head in his hands. His attributes 
are a sword and a crown. 

SS. Aphrodistus, Aventine, Desiderius, Chrysolius, 
Hilarian, Leo, Lucanus, Lucian, Proba, Solangia, 
and several other martyrs, are represented in the 
same way: it is the conventional symbol adopted by 
the artist to show that the martyr met death by 

Albano Stone or Peperino, used by the 
Romans in building; a volcanic tufa quarried 
at Monte Albano. 

Albany, Albainn, or Albin. An ancient name 
applied to the northern part of Scotland, 
called by the Romans "Caledonia," and in- 
habited by the Picts. From Celtic alp or 
ailpe, a rock or cliff. The name Albany 
survives in Breadalbane, the hilly country of 
Albainn, i.e. western Perthshire. 

In Spenser's Faerie Queene (U, x, 14, etc.) 
northern Britain is called Albania. 

Also the name of a block of residential . 
chambers running between Piccadilly and 
Burlington Gardens in London, designed by 
Sir William Chambers about 1770 with addi- 
tions by Henry Holland, 1 804. Many famous 
men of letters have resided there, including 

Albatross. The largest of web-footed birds, 
called by sailors the Cape Sheep, from its 
frequenting the Cape of Good Hope. Many 
fables are told of the albatross; it is said to 
sleep in the air, because its flight is a gliding 
without any apparent motion of its long wings, 
and sailors say that it is fatal to shoot one. 

Alberich. The all-powerful king of the dwarfs 
in Scandinavian mythology. In Wagners 
version of the Nibelungenhed he appears as a 
hideous gnome and steals the magic gold 
(Das Rheingold) guarded by the Rhine 
Maidens. Later he is captured by the gods, 
and is forced to give up all he has in return 
for his freedom. 




Albert, An. A watch chain across the waist- 
coat from one pocket to another or to a 
buttonhole. So called from Albert, Prince 
Consort. When he went to Birmingham, in 
1849, he was presented by the jewellers of the 
town with such a chain, and the fashion took 
the public fancy. 

Albigenses (albi jen'ses). A common name 
for a number of anti-sacerdotal sects in 
southern France during the 13th century; so 
called from the Albigeois, inhabitants of the 
district which now is the department of the 
Tarn, the capital of which was Albi, Lan- 
guedoc, where their persecution began, under 
Innocent III in 1208. 
Albin, See ALBANY. 

Albino (al be' no) (Lat. albus, white). A term 
originally applied by the Portuguese to those 
Negroes who were mottled with white spots; 
but now to persons who, owing to the con- 
genital absence of colouring pigment, are 
born with red eyes and white hair and skin. 
The term is also applied to beasts and plants, 
and even, occasionally, in a purely figurative 
way: thus, Oliver Wendell Holmes, in the 
Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (ch. viii), 
speaks of Kirke White as one of the "sweet 
Albino poets," whose "plaintive song" he 
admires; apparently implying some deficiency 
of virility, and possibly playing upon the 

Albion. An ancient and poetical name for 
Great Britain: probably from the white (Lat. 
albus) cliffs that face Gaul, but possibly from 
the Celtic alp, ailp (see ALBANY), a rock, cliff, 
mountain. "Albion" or "Albany" may 
have been the Celtic name of all Great Britain, 
but was subsequently restricted to Scotland, 
and then to the Highlands of Scotland. 

Legend gives various origins for the name. 
One derivation is from a giant son of Neptune, 
named Albion, who discovered the country 
and ruled over it for forty-four years. Ac- 
cording to another story the fifty daughters of 
the king of Syria, the eldest of whom was 
named Albia, were all married on the same 
day and all murdered their husbands on the 
wedding-night. As punishment they were 
packed into a ship and set adrift, eventually 
reaching this western isle where they went 
ashore and duly married natives, "a lawless 
crew of devils." 

In Polyolbion Michael Drayton says that 
Albion came from Rome and was the first 
Christian martyr in Britain. 

Although the phrase Perfide Albion is 
attributed to Napoleon, the sentiment is much 
older, for Bossuet (1627-1704) wrote, 
"L'Angleterre, ah! la perfide Angleterre." 

Al Borak. See BORAK. 

Album. A blank book for photographs, 
stamps, autographs, miscellaneous jottings, 
scraps, and so on. The Romans applied the 
word tp certain tables overlaid with gypsum, 
on which were inscribed the annals of the 
chief priests, the edicts of the praetors, and 
rules relating to civil matters. In the Middle 
Ages, "album" was the general name of a 
register or list; so called from being kept 

either on a white (albus} board with black 
letters, or on a black board with white letters. 
Alcaic Verse (al ka' ik) or Alcaics. A Greek 
lyrical metre, so called from Alcceos, a lyric 
poet, who is said to have invented it. Alcaic 
measure is little more than a curiosity in 
English poetry; probably the best example 
is Tennyson's: 

O migh j ty-mouthed I in | ventor of | harmonies, 
O skilled | to sing | of | Time or E | ternity. 
God-gift 1 ed or | gan-voice | of Eng land, 
Milton, a | name to re | sound for j ages. 

Alcantara, Order of (al kan' ta ra). A military 
and religious order instituted in 1213 (on the 
foundation of the earlier order of San Juan 
del Pereyro, which had been created ab9ut 
1155 to fight the Moors) by Alfonso IX, King 
of Castile, to commemorate the taking of 
Alcantara from the Moors. In 1835 the 
Order, which had been under the Benedictine 
rule, ceased to exist as a religious body, but 
it remained as a civil and military order under 
the Crown. 

Alceste (alsest 7 ). The hero of Moliere's 
Misanthrope. He is not unlike Shakespeare's 
character of Timon, and was taken by Wycher- 
ley for the model of his Manly (#.v.). 

Alchemilla (al ke mil' a). A genus of plants 
of the rose family; so called because alchemists 
collected the dew of its' leaves for their opera- 
tions. Also called "Lady's Mantle," from 
the Virgin Mary, to whom the plant was 

Alchemy (aTkemi). The derivation of this 
word is obscure: the al is the Arabic article, 
the., and kimia the Arabic form of Greek 
chemeia, which seems to have meant Egyptian 
art; hence "the art of the Egyptians." Its 
main objects were the transmutation of baser 
metals into gold, the universal solvent (alka- 
hest, #.v.), the panacea (#.v.), and the elixir of 

Alciinedon (al sim' e don). A generic name 
for a- first-rate carver in wood. 

Pocula ponam 

Fagina, ccelatum divini opus Alcimedontis. 
VIRGIL: Eclogue, in, 36. 

Alcina (alse'na). The personification of 
carnal pleasure in Orlando Furioso; the Circe 
of fable. 

Alcinoo poma dare (al sin' 6 6 po' ma da' re 
(to give apples to Alcmous). To carry coals 
to Newcastle. The gardens of Alcinous, the 
legendary king of the Phaeacians on the island 
of Scheria, by whom Odysseus was entertained, 
were famous for their fruits. Thus, Milton 
speaks of Eden as a 

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 

Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 

Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son. 

Paradise Lost, ix, 4, 9. 


Alcmena (alk me' na). In Greek mythology, 
daughter of Electryon, king of Mycenae, wife 
of Amphitryon, and mother (by Zeus) of 
Hercules. The legend is that at the con- 
ception of Hercules Zeus, for additional 
pleasure with Alcmena, made the night the 
length of three ordinary nights. 

Alcofribas Nasier 



Alcofribas Nasier (alko'frebas na' syer). 
The anagrammatic pseudonym of Francois 
Rabelais, adopted as the name of the author 
of his first two books, Gargantua and Panta- 

Alcuith, a place mentioned by the Venerable 
Bede, now Dumbarton. 

Aldebaran (al deb' a ran) (Arab, <?/, the, 
davaran, the follower, because its rising 
follows that of the Pleiades). A red star of 
the first magnitude, cc Tauri, one of the bright- 
est in the heavens. It forms the bull's eye in 
the constellation Taurus. 

Alderman. A senior or elder: now applied 
to certain magistrates in corporate towns. 
In the City of London aldermen were first 
appointed by a charter of Henry III in 1242; 
there are 25 (or, counting the Lord Mayor, or 
chief magistrate, 26), and they are elected for 
life, one for each ward. Of the larger cities 
of England: Birmingham has 34 aldermen; 
Liverpool, 39; Manchester, 36; Sheffield, 25; 
Leeds, 26; and Bristol, 28. 

Aldgate Pump, a draught on. A worthless 
cheque or bill. The pun is on the word 
draught, which may mean either an order on 
a bank or a sup ofcliquor. 

Aldiborontephoscophornio (al' di bo ron' ti fos' 
ko for 'm 6). A courtier in Henry Carey's 
burlesque, Chrononhotonthologos (1734). 

Aldine Editions. Editions of the Greek and 
Latin classics, published and printed under the 
superintendence of Aldo Manuzio, his father- 
in-law Andrea of Asolo, and his son Paolo, 
from 1490 to 1597; most of them are in small 
octavo, and all are noted for their accuracy. 
The father invented the type called italics, 
once called Aldine, and first used in printing 
Virgil, 1501. 

Ale is the Anglo-Saxon ealu, connected with 
the Scandinavian <?/, and Lithuanian alus. 
Beer is the Anglo-Saxon bear (M.E., here), 
connected with the German bier and Icelandic 
bjorr. A beverage made from barley is men- 
tioned by Tacitus and even Herodotus. Hops 
were introduced from Holland and used for 
brewing about 1524, but their use was pro- 
hibited by Act of Parliament in 1528 a pro- 
hibition which soon fell into disuse. Ale is 
made from pale malt, whence its light colour; 
porter and stout from malt more highly dried. 
The word beer is of general application; and 
in many parts of England it includes ale, 
porter, and stout. In some parts ale is used 
for the stronger malt liquors and beer for the 
weaker, while in others the terms are reversed. 
Called ale among men ; but by the gods called beer 

The Alvismal (IQth-cent. Scandinavian poem). 
See also CHURCH-ALE. 

Aleberry. A corruption of ale-bree. A 
drink made of hot ale, spice, sugar, and toast. 
Burns speaks of the barley-bree (A.S. briw, 

Cause an aleberry to be made for her, and put 
into it powder of camphor. The Pathway to Health. 

Ale-dagger. A dagger used in self-defence 
in alehouse brawls. 

He that drinkes with cutters must not be without 
his ale-dagger. Pappe with a Hatchet (1589). 

Ale-draper. The keeper of an ale-house. 
Ale-drapery, the selling of ale, etc. 

No other occupation have I but to be an ale- 
draper. CHETTLE: Kind-harts' Dreame (1592). 

Ale-knight. A tippler, a sot. 

Ale-silver. Formerly, the annual fee paid 
to the Lord Mayor for the privilege of selling 
ale within the City of London. 

Ale-stake. The pole set up before alehouses 
by way of sign, often surmounted by a bush 
or garland. Thus, Chaucer says of the 

A garland had he set upon his head 
As great as it were for an ale-stake. 

Cant. Tales, ProL, 666. 

Ale-wife. The landlady of an alehouse. 
In America a fish of the herring kind, only 
rather larger, is known as the ale-wife* Some 
think it is a corruption of a North American 
Indian name, aloofe, and some of the French 
alose, a shad. 

Alecto (a lek' to). In classical mythology, 
one of the three Furies (#.v.); her head was 
covered with snakes. 

Then like Alecto, terrible to view, 
Or like Medusa, the Circassian grew. 

HOOLE: Jerusalem Delivered, Bk. vi. 

Alectorian Stone (a lek tor' i an) (Gr. alector, 
a cock). A stone, fabled to be of talismanic 
power, found in the stomach of cocks. Those 
who possess it are strong, brave, and wealthy. 
Milo of Crotona owed his strength to this 
talisman. As a philtre it has the power of 
preventing thirst or of assuaging it, 

Alectryomancy (a lek tri 5 man' si). Divina- 
tion by a cock. Draw a circle, and write in 
succession round it the letters of the alphabet, 
on each of which lay a grain of corn. Then 
put a cock in the centre of the circle, and watch 
what grains he eats. The letters will prog- 
nosticate the answer. Libanus and Jambhcus 
thus discovered who was to succeed the em- 
peror Valens. The cock ate the grains over 
the letters t, h, e, o, d=Theod[orusl. 

Alexander and the Robber. The story is that 
the pirate Diomedes, having been captured 
and brought before Alexander, was asked 
how he dared to molest the seas. "How 
darest thou molest the earth?" was the reply. 
"Because I am the master only of a single 
galley I am termed a robber; but you who 
oppress the world with huge squadrons are 
called a king." Alexander was so struck by 
this reasoning that he made Diomedes rich, 
a prince, and a dispenser of justice. See the 
Gesta Romanorum, cxlvi. 

You are thinking of Parmenio and I of 
Alexander i.e. you are thinking of what you 
ought to receive, and I what I ought to give; 
you are thinking of those castigated or re- 
warded, but I of my position, and what reward 
is consistent with my rank. The allusion is 
to the tale that Alexander said to Parmenio, 
"I consider not what Parmenio should 
receive, but what Alexander should give.*' 

Only two Alexanders. Alexander said, 
" There are but two Alexanders the invinci- 
ble son of Philip, and the inimitable painting 
of the hero by Apelles." 



Alfred the Great 

The continence of Alexander. Having 
gained the battle of Issus (333 B.C.) the family 
of Darius III fell into his hand; but he treated 
the women with the greatest decorum. A 
eunuch, having escaped, reported this to 
Darius, and the king could not but admire 
such nobility in a rival. See CONTINENCE. 

Alexander. So Paris, son of Priam, was 
called by the shepherds who brought him up. 

Alexander of the North. Charles XII of 
Sweden (1682-1718), so called from his 
military achievements. He was conquered at 
Pultowa (1709), by Peter the Great. 

Repressing here 
The frantic Alexander of the North. 

THOMSON: Winter. 

Alexander the Corrector. The self-assumed 
nickname of Alexander Cruden (1701-1770), 
compiler of the Concordance of the Bible. 
After being, on more than one occasion, 
confined in a lunatic asylum he became a 
reader for the Press, and later developed a 
mania for going about constantly with a sponge 
to wipe out the licentious, coarse, and profane 
chalk scrawls which met his eye. 

Alexander's beard. A smooth chin, no 
beard at all. An Amazonian chin (#.v.). 
I like this trustie glasse of Steele . . . 
Wherein I see a Sampson's grim regarde 
Disgraced yet with Alexander's bearde. 

GASCOIGNE: The Steele Glas. 

Alexandra Day. To celebrate the fiftieth year 
of her residence in England, Queen Alexandra 
(1844-1925) inaugurated a fund for the 
assistance of hospitals, convalescent homes, 
etc., to be raised by the sale of artificial wild 
roses made by the blind and cripples. On a 
day in June these are sold in the streets, the 
buyers wearing the roses as a sign of having 
contributed to the fund. 

Alexandra limp. In the 60s of last 
century Queen Alexandra (then Princess of 
Wales) had a slight accident which for a time 
caused her to walk with an almost impercepti- 
ble limp. In a spirit of servile imitation many 
sf the women about the court adopted this 
method of walking, which hence became 
known as the "Alexandra limp." 

Alexandrian. Anything from the East was so 
called by the old chroniclers and romancers, 
because Alexandria was the depot from which 
Eastern stores reached Europe. 

Reclined on Alexandrian carpets [i.e. Persian]. 
ROSE: Orlando Furioso, x, 37. 

Alexandrian Codex. A Greek MS. of the 
Scriptures written (probably in the 5th cen- 
tury) in uncials on parchment, which is sup- 
posed to have originated at Alexandria. In 
1628 it was presented to Charles I by Cyril 
Sucar, patriarch of Constantinople, and in 
1753 was placed in the British Museum. It 
contains the Septuagint version (except por- 
tions of the Psalms), a part of the New Testa- 
ment, and the Epistles of Clemens Romanus. 

Alexandrian Library. Founded by Ptolemy 
Soter, in Alexandria, in Egypt. The tale is 
that it was burnt and partly consumed in 391; 
but when the city fell irito the hands of the 
calif Omar, in 642, the Arabs found books 

sufficient to "heat the baths of the city for 
six months." It is said that it contained 
700,000 volumes, and the reason given by the 
Mohammedan destroyer for the destruction 
of the library was that the books were unneces- 
sary in any case, for all knowledge that was 
necessary to man was contained in the Koran, 
and that any knowledge contained in the 
library that was not in the Koran must be 

Alexandrian School. An academy of learn- 
ing founded about 310 B.C. by Ptolemy Soter, 
son of Lagus, and Demetrius of Phaleron, 
especially famous for its grammarians and 
mathematicians. Of the former the most 
noted are Aristarchus (<?. 220-145 B.C.), 
Eratosthenes (c. 275-195 B.C.), and Harpocra- 
tion (A.D. 2nd century); and of its mathe- 
maticians, Claudius Ptolemaeus (A.D. 2nd 
century) and Euclid (c. 300 B.C.), the former 
an astronomer, and the latter the geometer 
whose Elements were once very generally used 
in schools and colleges. 

Alexandrine. In prosody, an iambic or 
trochaic line of twelve syllables or six feet 
with, usually, a caesura (break) at the sixth 
syllable. So called either from the 12th- 
century French metrical romance, Alexander 
the Great (commenced by Lambert-li-Cort and 
continued by Alexandra de Bernay), or from 
the old Castilian verse chronicle, Poemq de 
Alexandra Magno, both of which are written 
in this metre. The final line of the Spenserian 
stanza is an Alexandrine. 
A needless Alexandrine ends the song, 
Which, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length 

POPE: Essay on Criticism, ii, 356. 

Alexandrine Age. From about A.D. 323 to 
640, when Alexandria, in Egypt, was the 
centre of science, philosophy, and literature. 

Alexandrine Philosophy. A system of 
philosophy which flourished at Alexandria in 
the early centuries of the Christian era, 
characterized by its attempt to combine 
Christianity and Greek philosophy. It gave 
rise to Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. 
Alexandrite. A variety of chrysoberyl found 
in the mica-slate of the Urals. So named from 
Alexander II of Russia, on whose birthday it 
was discovered. The stone is green by natural 
and red by artificial light. 

Alexis, St. Patron saint of hermits and 
beggars. The story goes that he lived on his 
father's estate as a hermit till death, but was 
never recognized. It is given at length in the 
Gesta Romanotum (Tale xv). His feast day is 
July 17th. He is represented in art with a 
pilgrim's habit and staff. Sometimes he is 
drawn as if extended on a mat, with a letter in 
his hand, dying. 

AJfadir (al fa' der) (father of all). In Scan- 
dinavian mythology, one of the epithets of 
Odin (q.v.). 

Alfana. See HORSE. 

Alfonsin, Alfonsine Fables. See ALPHONSIN, 


Alfred the Great (8487-900). King of 
Wessex, father of the British Navy and leader 

Alfred's scholars 


All and Some 

of the opposition to the invading Danish 
armies. In January 878 he was surprised 
and defeated at Chippenham ; with the remains 
of his forces he withdrew to Athelney and 
continued his resistance. A legend having no 
basis in fact says that he fled from Chippenham 
to Athelney and took refuge in a peasant's 
hut, where the housewife, not recognizing 
him in his rags, put him to watching cakes 
baking by the fire. He was so absorbed in 
his meditations that he allowed the cakes to 
burn and was scolded as an idle and useless 
wretch. After his final victory he built a 
monastery at Athelney in celebration of and 
in thanksgiving for his resistance there. In 
1693, the beautiful Saxon ornament, bearing 
his name and known as Alfred's Jewel, was 
found at Athelney. It is now in the Ashmo- 
lean Museum, Oxford. 

Alfred's scholars. When Alfred the Great 
set about the restoration of letters in England 
he founded a school and gathered around him 
learned men from all parts; these became 
known as "Alfred's scholars"; the chief 
among them are: Werfrith, Bishop of Worces- 
ter; Ethelstan and Werwulf, two Mercian 
priests; Plegmund (a Mercian), afterwards 
Archbishop of Canterbury; Asser, a Welsh- 
man; Grimbald, a French scholar from St. 
Omer, and John the Old Saxon. 

Algarsife (aT gar sif). In Chaucer's unfinished 
Squire's Tale, son of Cambuscan, and brother 
of Camballo, who "won Theodora to wife." 
This noble king, this Tartre Cambuscan, 
Had two sones by Elfeta his wife, 
Of which the eldest sone highte Algarsife, 
That other was ycleped Camballo. 
A doghter had this worthy king also 
That youngest was and highte Canace. 

Hence the reference in Milton's IlPenserosoi 
Call him up that left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold, 
Of Camball, and of Algarsife, 
And who had Canace to wife. 

Algebra is the Arabic al jebr (the equaliza- 
tion), "the supplementing and equalizing 
(process)"; so called because the problems 
are solved by equations, and the equations 
are made by supplementary terms. Fancifully 
identified with the Arabian chemist Gebir. 

Alhambra (al ham' bra). The citadel and 
palace built at Granada by the Moorish kings 
in the 13th century. The word is the Arabic 
al-hamra, or at full length kaV-at al hamra 
(the red castle). 

Ali (a' le). Cousin and son-in-law of Mo- 
hammed, the beauty of whose eyes is with the 
Persians proverbial; in so much that the 
highest term they employ to express beauty 
is Ayn Halt (eyes of Ali). 

Alias (a' li as). "You have as many aliases 
as Robin of Bagshot," said to one who passes 
under many names. The phrase is from 
Gay's Beggar's Opera'. Robin of Bagshot, one 
of Macheath's gang, was alias Gordon, alias 
Bluff Bob, alias Carbuncle, alias Bob Booty. 

Ali Baba (a' le ba' ba). The hero of a story 
in the Arabian Nights Entertainments, who sees 
a band of robbers enter a cavern by means 

of the magic password "Open Sesame." 
When they have gone away he enters the cave, 
loads his ass with treasure and returns home. 
The Forty Thieves discover that Aii Baba has 
learned their secret and resolve to kill him, 
but they are finally outwitted by the slave- 
girl Morgiana. 

Alibi (Lat. elsewhere). A plea of having been 
at another place at the time that an offence 
is alleged to have been committed. A clock 
which strikes an hour, while the hands point 
to a different time, the real time being neither 
one nor the other, has been humorously called 
an alibi clock. 

Never mind the character, and stick to the alley bi. 
Nothing like an alley bi, Sammy, nothing. DICKENS: 
Pickwick Papers. 

A modern and incorrect usage of this word 
makes it mean an excuse, a pretext. 
Aliboron. The name of a jackass in La Fon- 
taine's Fables; hence Maitre Ahboron=Mn 
Jackass. See GONIN. 

Alice in Wonderland and its companion 
Through the Looking-glass are probably the 
most famous and widely read of children's 
books. Their author was C. L. Dodgson, an 
Oxford mathematician who wrote under the 
pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. Alice appeared 
in 1865 and Looking-glass in 1871, both books 
being illustrated by Sir John Tenniel. The 
original of Alice was Alice Liddell, daughter 
of Dean Liddell, himself famous as part- 
author of Liddell & Scott's Greek Lexicon. 

Alien (a' li en). This term is legally applied 
to a person living in a different country from 
that of his birth, and not having acquired 
citizenship in the land of his residence. Later 
usage has given the word a pejorative impli- 
cation. An alienist is a physician or scientist 
who specializes in the study and treatment of 

Alien priory. A priory which is dependent 
upon and owes allegiance to another priory 
in a foreign country. A sub-priory, such as 
RufTord Abbey, Notts, which was under the 
prior of Rievaulx in Yorkshire, has sometimes 
been erroneously called an alien priory. 

Alifanfaron (al i fan' fa ron). Don Quixote 
attacked a flock of sheep, and declared them 
to be the army of the giant Alifanfaron. 
Similarly Ajax, in a fit of madness, fell upon 
a flock of sheep, which he mistook for 
Grecian princes. 

Al Kadr (al ka"dr) (the divine decree). A par- 
ticular night in the month Ramadan, when 
Mohammedans say that angels descend to 
earth, and Gabriel reveals to man the decrees 
of God. Al Koran, ch. xcvii. 
Alkahest (aT ka hest). The hypothetical 
universal solvent of the alchemists. The 
word was invented, on Arabic models, by 

All and Some. An old English expression 
meaning "one and all," confused sometimes 
with "all and sum" meaning the whole total. 
It appears in the early 14th-century romance, 
Cceur de Lion: 

They that wolde nought Crystene become, 
Richard lect sleen hem alle and some. 

All Fool's Day 


All to break 

All Fool's Day (April 1st). See APRIL FOOL, 

All Fours. A game of cards ; so called from 
the four points that are at stake, viz. High, 
Low, Jack, and Game. 

To go on all fours is to crawl about on all 
four limbs, like a quadruped or an infant. 
The phrase used to be (more correctly) all 
four, as in Lev. xi, 42, "whatsoever goeth upon 
all four." 

It does not go on all fours means it does 
not suit in every particular; it limps as a 
quadruped which does not go on all its four 
legs. Thus, the Latin saying, Omnis com- 
paratio daudicat (All similes limp) was trans- 
lated by Macaulay as "No simile can go on 
all fours." 

All-Hallows Summer. Another name for 
St Martin's Summer (see SUMMER), because 
it sets in about All Hallows; also called St. 
Luke's Summer (St. Luke's Day is Oct. 18th), 
and the Indian summer (?.v.). Shakespeare 
uses the term 

"Farewell, thou latter spring; farewell, All-hallows 
Summer I " 

1 Henry IV, i, 2. 

All-Hallows' Day. All Saints' Day (Nov. 
1st), "hallows" being the Old English halig, 
a holy (man), hence, a saint. The French call 
it Toussaint. Between 603 and 610 the Pope 
(Boniface IV) changed the heathen Pantheon 
into a Christian church and dedicated it to 
the honour of all the martyrs. The festival 
of All Saints was first held on May 1st, but 
in the year 834 it was changed to November 1st. 

All-Hallows' Eve. Many old folklore cus- 
toms are connected with All-Hallows' Eve 
(October 31st), such as bobbing for apples, 
cracking nuts (mentioned in the Vicar o 
Wakefield), finding by various "tests" 
whether one's lover is true, etc. Buras's 
Hallowe'en gives a good picture of Scottish 
customs; and there is a tradition in Scotland 
that those born on All-Hallows' Eve have the 
gift of double sight, and commanding powers 
over spirits. Thus, Mary Avenel, in Scott's 
The Monastery, is made to see the White Lady, 
invisible to less gifted visions. 

All is lost that is put in a riven dish. In 
Latin, Pertusum quicquid infunditur in dolium 
perit. (It is no use helping the insolvent.) 

All my eye and Betty Martin. All nonsense, 
bosh, rubbish. The origin of this curious 
phrase cannot now be discovered. The 
Betty Martin is a later addition; "All my 
eye" is the old saying, as Goldsmith makes 
the Bailiff say in the Good-natured Man (iii) : 
"That's all my eye, the king only can pardon, 
as the law says." In his Classical Dictionary 
of the Vulgar Tongue (1785), Grose gives: 
"That's my eye, Betty Martin." Southey 
says in The Doctor (1837): "Who was Betty 
Martin, and wherefore should she be so often 
mentioned in connection with my precious 
eye or yours?" 

Jpe Miller, the 18th-century joke-monger 
exhibited a typical piece of his wit when he 
gave the following origin for the phrase: A 
Jack Tar went into a foreign church, where he 
heard someone uttering these words Ah! 
tnihi, beate Martins (Ah! grant!] me, Blessed 

Martin). On giving an account of his adven- 
ture, Jack said he could not make much out 
of it, but it seemed to him very like "AH my 
eye and Betty Martin." 

All-overish. A colloquial expression mean- 
ing a feeling of general discomfort, not 
exactly ill but far from well. 

All Saints. See ALL HALLOWS. 

An serene (Sp. sere'na). In Cuba the word 
was used as a countersign by sentinels, and is 
about equivalent to our "All right," or "All's 
well." In the late 19th century it was a 
colloquial catch-word. 

All Sir Garnet. During the 80s of the 
last century, when Sir Garnet Wolseley was 
winning his victories in Egypt, the Army phrase 
"All Sir Garnet" came into common usage, 
indicating that all was going well, everything 
was as it should be. 

All Souls College, Oxford. This was 
founded in 1437 by Henry Chichele, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, as a chantry where 
masses should be said for the souls of those 
killed in the wars of Henry V and Henry VI. 
It has a Warden and fifty fellows, few of whom 
are in residence, but is unique in having no 

All Souls' Day. November 2nd, so called 
because Catholics on that day seek by prayer 
and almsgiving to alleviate the sufferings of 
souls in purgatory. It was instituted in the 
monastery of Cluny in 993. 

According to tradition, a pilgrim, returning 
from the Holy Land, was compelled by a storm 
to land on a rocky island, where he found a 
hermit, who told him that among the cliffs 
was an opening into the infernal regions 
through which huge flames ascended, and 
where the groans of the t9rmented were 
distinctly audible. The pilgrim told Odilo, 
abbot of Cluny, of this; and the abbot 
appointed the day following, which was 
November 2nd, to be set apart for the benefit 
of those souls in purgatory. 

All standing. A nautical expression mean- 
ing to be completely equipped. 

To turn in all standing is to retire while still 
fully dressed. 

All the Talents. This is the name given to 
the administration formed by Lord Grenville 
in 1806 on the death 9f William Pitt. It was 
an attempt at a coalition of Tories, moderate 
Whigs and extreme Whigs, and included 
Charles James Fox as Foreign Secretary. It 
accomplished nothing spectacular, however, 
though one great measure will always stand 
to its credit the abolition of the slave trade. 
The Government was dissolved in 1807. 

All this for a song! Said to be Burleigh's 
remark when Queen Elizabeth ordered him to 
give 100 to Spenser as a royal gratuity. 

All to break (Judges ix, 53). "A certain 
woman cast a piece of millstone upon Abime- 
lech's head, and all to brake his skull" does 
not mean for the sake of breaking his skull, 
but that she wholly smashed his skull. The 
to belongs to the verb, being an intensifying 
prefix (as is zu in German), and the all coming 



Alma Mater 

in as a natural addition. It is common among 
our early writers, as witness Chaucer's 
Al is to-broken thilke regioun. 

Knight's Tale, 2759. 

Allah (aT a). The Arabic name of the 
Supreme Being, from al, the, illah, god. 
Allah il Allah, the Mohammedan war-cry, and 
also the first clause of their confession of 
faith, is a corruption of la illah ilia allah, 
meaning "there is no God, but the God." 
Another Mohammedan war-cry is Allah 
akbar, "God is most mighty." 

Allan-a-Dale. A minstrel in the Robin Hood 
ballads, who appears also in Scott's Ivanhoe. 
He was assisted by Robin Hood in carrying 
off his bride when on the point of being 
married against her will to a rich old knight. 

Alleluiah. See HALLELUJAH. 

Alley or Ally. A choice, large playing-marble 
made of stone or alabaster, from which it 
takes its name. The alley tor (more cor- 
rectly taw) beloved of Master Bardell (Pick- 
wick Papers, 34) was a special ally that had 
won many taws or games. 

Alley, The. An old name for Change Alley 
in the City of London, where dealings in the 
public funds, etc., used to take place. 
Why did 'Change Alley waste thy precious hours 
Among the fools who gap'd for golden show'rs? 
No wonder if we found some poets there, 
Who live on fancy and can feed on air; 
No wonder they were caught by South-Sea schemes, 
Who ne'er enjoy'd a guinea but in dreams. 



Alliensis, Dies (di' ez SI i en' sis). June 16th, 
390 B.C., when the Romans were cut to pieces 
by the Gauls near the banks of the river Allia. 
It was ever after held to be a dies nefastus, or 
unlucky day. 

Alligator. When the Spaniards first saw this 
reptile in the New World, they called it el 
lagarto (the lizard). Sir Walter Raleigh called 
these creatures lagartos; in the 1st Quarto of 
Romeo and Juliet (v, 1) the animal is called 
an aligarta, and in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew 
Fair an alligarta. 

Alligator Pear. The name given to the 
fruit of the West Indian tree, Persea gratis- 
sima. It is a corruption either of the Carib 
aouacate, called by the Spanish discoverers 
avocado or avigato, or of the Aztec abuacath, 
which was transmitted through the Fr. avocat 
and Sp. aguacate. In any case the fruit has 
nothing to do with the reptile. 

Alliteration. The rhetorical device of com- 
mencing adjacent accented syllables with the 
same letter or sound, as in Quince's ridicule of 
it in Midsummer Night* s Dream (v. 1): 
With Wade, with Moody blameful Made, 
He frravely broached his foiling Moody breast. 

Alliteration was a sine qua non in Anglo- 
Saxon and early English poetry, and in modern 
poetry it is frequently used with great effect, 
as in Coleridge's : 

The fair freeze Mew, the white /oam /lew. 
The /urrow /ollowed /ree. 

Ancient Mariner* 

And Tennyson's: 

The moan of doves in immemorial elms, 
And mur/Tzuring of innumerable bees. 

Princess, vn. 

Many fantastic examples of excessive 
alliteration are extant, and a good example 
from a parody by Swinburne will be found 
under the heading AMPHIGOURI. Hugbald 
composed an alliterative poem on Charles the 
Bald, every word of which begins with e, and 
Henry Harder a poem of 100 lines, in Latin 
hexameters, on cats, each word beginning 
with c, called Canum cum Cans certamen 
carmine compositum currents calamo C Catutti 
Caninii. The first line is 

Cattorum canimus certarmna clara canumque. 

Tusser, who died 1 580, has a rhyming poem 
of twelve lines, every word of which begins 
with t; and m the 1890s there- was published a 
Serenade of twenty-eight lines, "sung in M flat 
by Major Marmaduke Muttinhead to Made- 
moiselle Madeline Mendoza Marriott," which 
contained only one word in the line, "Meet 
me by moonlight, marry me" not beginning 
with M. 

The alliterative alphabetic poem begin- 

An Austrian army awfully arrayed 
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade, 
Cossack commanders, canonadmg come, 
Dealing destruction's devastating doom; . , . 

is well known. It was published in The 

Trifler, May 7th, 1817, ascribed to Rev. B. 

Poulter, later revised by Alaric A. Watts, 

though claimed for others. 
Another attempt of the same kind begins 


About an age ago, as all agree, 
Beauteous Belinda, brewing best Bohea 
Carelessly chattered, controverting clean, 
Dublin's derisive, disputatious dean . . . 

Allodials (Med. Lat. from Old Prankish al, all; 
od, estate). Lands held by absolute right, 
without even the burden of homage or 
fidelity; opposed to feudal. 

Allopathy (a lop' a thi) is in opposition to 
Homoeopathy (q.v.). It is from the Greek, 
allo pathos, a different disease. In homoe- 
opathy the principle is that "like is to cure 
like"; in allopathy the disease is to be cured 
by its "antidote." 

Alma (al'ma) (Ital. soul, spirit, essence), in 
Prior's poem of this name typifies the mind 
or guiding principles of man. Alma is queen 
of "Body Castle," and is beset by a rabble 
rout of evil desires, foul imaginations, and 
silly conceits for seven years (the Seven Ages). 
In Spenser's Faerie Qiteene (II, ix-xi) Alma 
typifies the soul. She is mistress of the 
House of Temperance, and there entertains 
Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon. 

Alma Mater. A collegian so calls the 
university of which he is a member. The 
words are Latin for "fostering mother," and 
in ancient Rome the title was given to several 
goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele. 

They are also used for other "fostering 
mothers," as in 

You might divert yourself, too, with Alma Mater, 
the Church. 

HORACE WALPOLE: Letters (1773). 



Alnaschar's Dream 

Almack's. A suite of assembly rooms in 
King Street, St. James's (London), built in 
1765 by William Almack, an ex-valet, who a 
short time previously had founded the club 
now known as Brooks's, and who died in 
1781. Balls, presided over by a committee 
of ladies of the highest rank, used to be given 
here; and to be admitted was almost as great 
a distinction as to be presented at Court. 
After 1840 they became known as Willis s 
Rooms, from the name of the then proprietor, 
and were used chiefly for large dinners. The 
rooms were closed in 1890, and destroyed in 
an air raid in 1941. 

Almagest (aT ma jest). The English form of 
the Arabic name given to Ptolemy's Mathe- 
matike syntaxis, the great astronomical treatise 
composed during the 2nd century A.D.. of 
which an Arabic translation was made about 
820. It is in the third book of this work 
(which contains thirteen books in all) that the 
length of the year was first fixed at 365 

Almanac. A mediaeval Latin word for a 
table of days and months with astronomical 
data, etc. 

The derivation of the word is obscure, 
though it clearly comes from the Sp. Arabic 
al, the; manakh, a sun-dial. This is not, 
however, a true Arabic word, but is probably 
of Greek origin. 

Some early almanacs are : 
Before invention of printing, 
By Solomon Jarchi . . in and after 1 150 

Peter deDacia about 1307 

Walter de Elvendene 1327 

John Somers, Oxford 1380 

Nicholas de Lynna 1386 

Purbach 1150-1461 

After invention of printing: ^ 

First printed by Gutenberg, at Mainz . . 1457 
By Regiomontanus, at Nuremberg . . 1474 

Zamer, at Ulm 1478 

Richard Pynson (Sheapeherd's Kalendar) 1497 

Stoffler, in Venice 1499 

Poor Robin's Almanack . . . . . . 1 652 

Francis Moore's Almanack between 1698 and 1713 
Almanach de Gotha, first published 1764 

Whitaker's Almanack first published 1869 

The man i' the almanac stuck with pins 

(Nat. Lee), is a man marked with points 
referring to signs of the zodiac, and intended 
to indicate the favourable and unfavourable 
times of letting blood. 

Almanzor (alman'zfir). The word means 
"the invincible" and was adopted as a title 
by several Mussulman potentates, notably the 
second Abbasside Caliph Abu Jafar Abdullah. 
It was a royal title given to the kings of Fez, 
Morocco, and Algiers : 

The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez, and Sus, 

Marocco and Algiers. . . . 

Paradise Lost, xi, 403. 

The Caliph Almanzor founded the city of 
Bagdad, which he named after a beggar who 
had prophesied that he would do so. 

One of the characters in Dryden's Conquest 
of Granada (1672) is an Almanzor; the name 
figures also as one of the lackeys in Moliere's 
Precieuses Ridicules. 

Almesbury, It was in a sanctuary at Almes- 
bury that Queen Guenever, according to 

Malory, took refuge, after her adulterous 

passion for Lancelot was revealed to the king 

(Arthur). Here she died; but her body was 

buried at Glastonbury. 

Almeyda. See BENBOW, 

Almighty Dollar. Washington Irving seems 

to have been the first to use this expression: 

The almighty dollar, that great object of universal 
devotion throughout our land. ... 

W. IRVING: Wolfert's Roost. Creole Village (1837). 

Ben Jonson in his Epistle to Elizabeth, 
Countess of Rutland, speaks of " almighty 

Almonry. The place where the almoner 
resides, or where alms are distributed. An 
almoner is a person whose duty it is to dis- 
tribute alms, which, in ancient times, con- 
sisted of one-tenth of the entire income of a 

The word has become confused with Ambry 
(#.v.), and the Close in Westminster now 
known as "Ambry Close" used to be called 
"Almonry Close " 

Almonry is from the Latin eleemosynarium, 
a place for alms. 

The place wherein this Chapel or Almshouse 
stands was called the "Elemosmary" or Almonry, 
now corrupted into Ambrey, for that the almis of 
the Abbey are there distributed to the poor. STOW: 

Alms (amz) (O.E. celmysse, ultimately from 
Lat. elemosina from Gr. eleemosyne, com- 
passion); gifts to the poor. 

Dr. Johnson says the word has no singular; 
the O.E.D. says it has no plural. It is a 
singular word which, like riches (from Fr. 
nchesse), has in modern usage become plural. 
In the Bible we have "he asked an alms" 
(Acts in, 3), but Dryden gives us "alms are 
but the vehicles of prayer" (Hind and the 
Panther, in, 106). 

Alms Basket (in Love's Labour's Lost, v, 1). 
To live on the alms basket. To live on 

Alms-drink. Leavings; the liquor which a 
drinker finds too much, and therefore hands 
to another; also, liquor left over from a feast 
and sent to the alms-people. See Antony and 
Cleopatra, ii, 7. 

Alms-fee. Peter's pence (?.v.). 

Almshouse. A house for the use of the poor, 
usually supported by the endowment of some 
wealthy patron who built the houses. Alms- 
houses are generally a number of small 
dwellings built together, often m a row, and 
are devoted to housing and supporting persons 
who find themselves poor or destitute in old 

Alms-man. One who lives on alms. 

Alnaschar's Dream. Counting your chickens 
before they are hatched. Alnaschar the 
barber's fifth brother (in the Arabian Nights 
story), invested all his money in a basket 
of glassware, on which he was to make 
a profit which, being invested, was to make 
more, and this was to go on till he grew rich 
enough to marry the vizier's daughter. Being 
angry with his imaginary wife he gave a kick, 
overturned his basket, and broke ail his wares. 




A.L.O.E. These initials represent A Lady Of 
England, the pseudonym of Charlotte Maria 
Tucker (1821-1893), an author 9f children's 
allegories and tales that enjoyed great 

Aloe (Gr. aloe). A very bitter plant; hence 
the line in Juvenal's sixth satire (181), Plus 
aloes quam mellis habet, "He has in him more 
bitters than sweets," said of a writer with a 
sarcastic pen. The French say, "Le cote 
d'Adam contient plus cTaloes que de miel" 
where cote d'Adam, of course, means woman 
or one's wife, 

Alombrados. See ILLUMINATI. 

Alonzo of Aguilar. When Fernando, King of 
Aragon, was laying siege to Granada in 1501, 
he asked who would undertake to plant his 
banner on the heights. Alonzo, "the low- 
most of the dons," undertook the task but 
was cut down by the Moors. His body was 
exposed in the wood of Oxijera, and the Moor- 
ish damsels, struck with its beauty, buried it 
near the brook of Alpuxarra. The incident 
is the subject of a number of ballads. 

Aloof. A sea term, to stand aloof, meaning 
originally to bear to windward, or luff. The 
a is the same prefix as in afoot or asleep, and 
means on; loof is the Dutch loef, windward. 
To hold aloof thus means literally "to keep 
to the windward," and as one cannot do that 
except by keeping the head of the ship away, 
it came to mean "to keep away from" as 
opposed to "to approach." 

A 1'outrance (a loo' trons). An incorrect Eng- 
lish version of the French a outrance. To the 

Alpha (aT fa). "/ am Alpha and Omega, the 
first and the last" (Rev. i, 8). "Alpha" is 
the first, and "Omega" (Q) the last letter of 
the Greek alphabet. Cp. TAU. 

Alphabet. This is the only word of more than 
one syllable compounded solely of the names 
of letters. The Greek alpha (a) beta (b); our 
ABC (book), etc 

Some curiosities of the alphabet are 

Ezra vii, 21, contains all the letters of the English 
alphabet, presuming / and / to be identical. 

Even the Italian alphabet is capable of more than 
seventeen trillion combinations; that is, 17 followed 
by eighteen other figures, as 

1 7,000,000,000,000,000,000 ; 

while the English alphabet will combine into more 

than twenty-nine thousand quatrilhon combinations; 

that is, 29 followed by twenty-seven other figures, as 


Yet we have no means of differentiating our vowel- 
sounds; take a, we have fate, fat, Thames, war, 
orange, ware, abide, calm, swan, etc. So with e, we 
have era, the, there, prey (a), met, England, sew, 
herb, clerk, etc The other vowels are equally 


Alpheus and Arethusa (al fe' us, ar e thu' za). 
The Greek legend is that a youthful hunter 
named Alpheus was in love with the nymph 
Arethusa; she fled from him to the island of 
Ortygia on the Sicilian coast and he was 
turned into a river of Arcadia in the Pelopon- 
nesus. Alpheus pursued her under the sea, 
B.D. 2 

and, rising in Ortygia, he and she became one 
in the fountain hereafter called Arethusa. 
The myth seems to be designed for the purpose 
of accounting for the fact that the course of 
the Alpheus is for some considerable distance 

Alphonsin (al fon' sin). An old surgical in- 
strument for extracting bullets from wounds. 
So called from Alphonse Fern, a surgeon of 
Naples, who invented it (1552). 

Alphonsine Tables. A revision of the Ptole- 
maic planetary tables made at the command 
of Alphonsus X of Castile himself a noted 
astronomer by a body of 50 or more of the 
most learned astronomers of the time. They 
were completed in 1252. 

Alpieu (Ital. al pin, for the most). In the 
game of Basset, doubling the stake on a 
winning card. 

What pity 'tis those conquering eyes, 

Which all the world subdue, 
Should, while the lover gazing dies, 
Be only on alpieu. 

ETHEREGE: Basset. 

Alpine Race. This is another name for the 
large Celtic Race and is applied to the thick- 
set men, with broad faces, hazel eyes, and 
light chestnut hair who inhabited the north- 
west extremity of France, Savoy, Switzerland, 
the Ardennes, Vosges, and the Biscayan coasts. 
They were a midway race between the Scan- 
dinavian Nordics and the dark Mediter- 
ranean folk; the zenith of their culture was 
the so-called La Tene period (500 B.C. to 
A.D. 1). 

Al Rakim (a"l ra' kim). The dog in the legend 
of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. 

Alruna-wife, An (al roo' na). The Alrunes 
were the lares or pe nates of the ancient Ger- 
mans; and an Alruna-wife, the household 

Alsatia (al sa' sha). The Whitefriars district 
of London, which from early times till the 
abolition of all privileges in 1697 was a sanc- 
tuary for debtors and law-breakers. It was 
bounded on the north and south by Fleet 
Street and the Thames, on the east and west 
by the Fleet River (now New Bridge Street) 
and the Temple; and was so called from the 
old Latin name of Alsace, which was for 
centuries a debatable frontier ground and a 
refuge of the disaffected. The life and state 
of this rookery is described in The Squire of 
Alsatia (1688), a comedy by Shadwell. who 
was the first to use the name in literature. 

Al-Sirat (Arab, the path). In Mohammedan 
mythology, the bridge leading to paradise; 
a bridge over mid-hell, no wider than the edge 
of a sword, across which all who enter heaven 
must pass. 

Alsvidur. See HORSE. 

Altar (Lat. altus, high; a high place). The 
oblong block or table, made of wood, marble, 
or other stone, consecrated and used for 
religious sacrifice. In Christian churches the 
term is applied to the communion table. 
According to the rubric laid down in the Book 



Amalthea's horn 

of Common Prayer the celebrant at Holy Com- 
munion shall stand at the north side of the 
table, thus sideways to the communicants who 
can in this way observe his motions in the 
act of consecration. This was enacted in 
order to do away with the alleged mystery of 
the Mass, hut it is not always observed to-day. 
Led to the altar. Married. Said of a 
woman who, as a bride, is led up the aisle 
to the altar-rail where marriages are solemnized. 

The north side of the altar. The side on 
which the Gospel is read. The north is the 
dark part of the earth, and the Gospel is the 
light of the world which shineth in darkness 
"illuminare his qui in tenebns et in umbra 
mortis sedent" 

Privileged altar. In R.C. churches this is 
an altar with certain indulgences attached to 
all Masses for the dead said at it. 

Alter ego (aT ter eg 7 o). (Lat. 9ther I, other 
self). One's double; one's intimate and 
thoroughly trusted friend; one who has full 
powers to act for another. Cf. "One's 
second self" under SECOND. 

Althea. The divine Althea of Richard Love- 
lace was Lucy Sacheverell, also called by the 
poet, ** Lucasta." 

When Love with unconfined wings 

Hovers within my gates, 

And my divine Althea brings 

To whisper at the grates. 

Lovelace was thrown into prison by the 
Long Parliament for his petition in favour of 
the king; hence the grates referred to. 

Althaea's Brand (aT the a), a fatal contingency. 
Althaea's son, Meleager, was to live just so long 
as a log of wood, then on the fire, remained 
unconsumed. With her care it lasted for 
many years, but being angry one day with 
Meleager, she pushed it into the midst of the 
fire; it was consumed in a few minutes and 
Meleager died in great agony at the same 
time. Ovid: Metamorphoses, viii, 4. 
The fatal brand Althaea burned. 

SHAKESPEARE: 2 Henry VI, i, 1. 

Altis. The sacred precinct of Zeus at Olympia, 
containing the great temple and oval altar of 
Zeus, the Pelopium {grave of Pel ops), the 
Heraum, with many other buildings and 
statues. It was connected by an arched 
passage with the Stadium, where the Olympian 
games were held. 

Alto relievo. Italian for "high relief." A 
term used in sculpture for figures in wood, 
stone, marble, etc., so cut as to project at 
least one-half from the tablet. 

Alumbrado, a perfectionist; so called from a 
Spanish sect which arose in 1575, and claimed 
special illumination. (Spanish, meaning 
"illuminated," "enlightened.") 

Alvina weeps, or "Hark! Alvina weeps," i.e. 
the wind howls loudly, a Flemish saymg. 
Alvina was the daughter of a king, who was 
cursed by her parents because she married 
unsuitably. From that day she roamed about 
the air invisible to the eye of man, but her 
moans are audible. 

Alzire (aT zer). A daughter of Montezuma 
invented by Voltaire and made the central 
character of one of his greatest plays of the 
same name (1736). The scene is shifted from 
Mexico to Peru. . 

A.M. or M.A. When the Latin form is 
intended the A comes first, as Artium Magisteri 
but where the English form is meant the M 
precedes, as Master of Arts. 

The abbreviation "A.M." also stands for 
ante meridiem (Lat.), before noon, and anno 
mundi, in the year of the world. 

Amadis of Gaul (a ma' dis). The hero of a 
prose romance of the same title, supposed to 
have been written by the Portuguese, Vasco 
de Lobeira (d. 1403), with additions by the 
Spaniard Montalvo, and by many subsequent 
romancers, who added exploits and adventures 
of other knights and thus swelled the romance 
to fourteen books. The romance was referred 
to as early as 1350 (in Egidis Colonna's De 
Regimine Principium); it was first printed m 
1508, became immensely popular, and exerted 
a wide influence on literature far into the 
17th century. 

Amadis, called the "Lion Knight," from 
the device on his shield, and "Beltenebros" 
(darkly beautiful), from his personal appear- 
ance, was a love-child of Perion, King of 
Gaula (Wales), and Elizena, Princess of Brit- 
tany. He was cast away at birth and became 
known as the Child of the Sun, and after many 
adventures including wars with the race of 
Giants, a war for the hand of his lady-love 
Oriana, daughter of Lisuarte, King of Greece, 
the Ordeal of the Forbidden Chamber, etc., 
he and Oriana are married. He is represented 
as a poet and a musician, a linguist and a 
gallant, a knight-errant and a king, the very 
model of chivalry. 

Other names by which Amadis was called 
were the Lovely Obscure, the Knight of the 
Green Sword., the Knight of the Dwarf, etc. 

Amadis of Greece. A Spanish continuation 
of the seventh book of Amadis of Gaul (<y.v.), 
supposed to be by Feliciano de Silva. It tells 
the story of Lisuarte of Greece, a grandson of 

Amaimon (a ml' mon). One of the chief 
devils in mediaeval demonology; king of the 
eastern portion of hell. Asmodeus is his chief 
officer. He might be bound or restrained 
from doing hurt from the third hour till noon, 
and from the ninth hour till evening. 

Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer well. 
SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, ii, 2. 

Amalfitan Code (a maT fi tan). The oldest 
existing collection of maritime laws, compiled 
in the eleventh century at Amalfi, then an 
important commercial centre. 

Amalthsea (am al the' a). In Greek mythology, 
the nurse of Zeus. In Roman legend Amalthea 
is the name of the Sibyl who sold the 
Sibylline Books (#.v.) to Tarquin. 

Amalthea's horn. The cornucopia or 
"horn of plenty" (#.v.). The infant Zeus 
was fed with goats' milk by Amalthea, one 
of the daughters of Melisseus, King of Crete. 
Zeus, in gratitude, broke off one of the goat's 




horns, and gave it to Amalthea, promising 
that the possessor should always have m 
abundance everything desired. See &GIS. 

When Amalthea 's horn 

O'er hill and dale the rose-crowned Flora pours, 
And scatters com and wine, and fruits and flowers. 
CAMOENS: Lusiad, Bk. li. 

Amaranth (am' a ranth) (Gr. amarantos, ever- 
lasting). The name given by Pliny to some 
real or imaginary fadeless flower. Clement 
of Alexandria says Amarantus flos, symbolum 
est immortalitatis. Among the ancients it was 
the symbol of immortality, because its flowers 
retain to the last much of their deep blood- 
red colour. 

The best-known species are "Love lies 
bleeding" (Amarantus caudatus), and 
"Prince's feather" (Amarantus hypochondri- 
ac us). 

Immortal amarant, a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life, 
Began to bloom, but, soon for man's offence 
To heaven removed where first it grew, there grows 
And flowers aloft, shading the Fount of Life, . . . 
With these, that never fade, the Spirits elect 
Bind their resplendent locks. 

MILTON: Paradise Lost, iii, 353. 

Spenser mentions "sad Amaranthus" as 
one of the flowers "to which sad lovers 
were transformed of yore" (Faerie Queens, 
III, vi, 45), but there is no known legend to 
this effect. 

In 1653 Christina, Queen of Sweden, 
instituted the order of the Knights of the 
Amaranth, but it ceased to exist at the death 
of the Queen. 

Amaryllis (am a rills). A rustic sweetheart. 
The name is borrowed from a shepherdess in 
the pastorals of Theocritus and Virgil. 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade. 

MILTON: Lycidas, 68. 

In Spenser's Colin Cloufs Come Home 
Again, Amaryllis is intended for Alice Spenser, 
Countess of Derby. 

Amasis, Ring of (a ma' sis). Herodotus tells 
us (iii, 4) that Pqlycrates, tyrant of Samqs, 
was so fortunate in everything that Amasis, 
king of Egypt, fearing such unprecedented 
luck boded ill, advised him to part with some- 
thing which he highly prized. Polycrates 
accordingly threw into the sea a ring of great 
value. A few days afterwards, a fish was 
presented to the tyrant, in which the ring was 
found. Amasis now renounced friendship 
with Polycrates, as a man doomed by the 
gods; and not long afterwards, a satrap put 
the too fortunate despot to death by cruci- 

Amati (a ma' ti). A family famous for making 
stringed instruments at Cremona (#.v.) in the 
16th and 17th centuries. Either Andrea 
Amati or Caspar da Salq produced the first 
violin similar to those in use to-day, the 
earliest surviving Amati instrument being 
dated 1564. 

Amaurote (am 6 ro' te) (Gr. the shadowy or 
unknown place), the chief city of Utopia (q.v.) 
in the political romance of that name by 
Sir Thomas More. Rabelais, in his Panta- 
l, introduces Utopia and "the great city 

of the Amaurots" (Bk. II, ch. xxiii). He had 
evidently read Sir Thomas More's book. 

To add to the verisimilitude of the romance, 
More says he could not recollect whether 
Hythlodaye had told him it was 500 or 300 
paces long; and he requested his friend Peter 
Giles, of Antwerp, to put the question to the 
adventurer. Swift, in Gullivers Travels, uses 
very similar means of throwing dust in his 
reader's eyes. He says : 

I cannot recollect whether the reception room of 
the Spaniard's Castle in the Air is 200 or 300 feet 
long. I will get the next aeronaut who journeys to 
the moon to take the exact dimensions for me, and 
will memorialise the learned society of Laputa. 

Amazement. Not afraid with any amazement 

(I Pet. iii, 6), introduced at the close of the 
marriage service in the Book of Common 
Prayer. The meaning is, you will be God's 
children so long as you do his bidding, and 
are not drawn aside by any sort of Bewilder- 
ment or distraction. Shakespeare uses the 
word in the same sense : 

Behold, distraction, frenzy and amazement, 
Like witless antics one another meet. 

Troilus and Cressida, v, 3. 

Amazon (am' a zon). A Greek word meaning 
without breast, or rather, "deprived of a pap." 
According to Herodotus there was a race of 
female warriors, or Amazons, living in Scythia, 
and other Greek stories speak of a nation of 
women in Africa of a very warlike character. 
There were no men in the nation, and if a 
boy was born, it was either killed or sent to 
its father, who lived in some neighbouring 
state. The girls had their right breasts burnt 
off, that they might the better draw the bow. 
The term is now applied to any strong, 
brawny woman of masculine habits. 

She towered, fit person for a Queen 

To lead those ancient Amazonian files ; 

Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles. 

WORDSWORTH: Poems of the Imagination, xvili. 

Amazonia (am a zo' ni a). An old name for 
the regions about the river Amazon in South 
America, which was so called because the 
early Spanish explorers (1541), under Orel- 
lana, thought they saw female warriors on its 

Amazonian chin. A beardless chin, like 
that of a woman warrior. 

When with his Amazonian chin he drove 
The bristled lips before him. 

SHAKESPEARE: Conolanus, II, il. 

Amber. A yellow, translucent, fossilized 
vegetable resin, the name of which originally 
belonged to ambergris (q.v.}. Beaumont and 
Fletcher use it as a verb meaning to perfume 
with ambergris: 

Be sure 

The wines be lusty, high, and full of spirit, 
And amber'd all. 

Custom of the Country, HI, ii. 

Legend has it that amber is a concretion, 
the tears of birds who were the sisters of 
Meleager and who never ceased weeping for 
the death of their brother. OVID : Metamor- 
phoses, viii, 270. 

Around thee shall glisten the loveliest amber 
That ever the sorrowing sea-bird hath wept. 
T. MOORE: Fire Worshippers. 



Amende honorable 

Insects, small leaves, etc., are often pre- 
served in amber; hence such phrases as "pre- 
served for all time m the imperishable amber 
of his genius." 

Pretty! in amber, to observe the forms 
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs or worms, 
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare, 
But wonder how the devil they got there. 

POPC. Ep. to Arbuthnot, 169-72. 
Amber, meaning a repository, is an obsolete 
spelling of ambry (tf.v.). 
Ambergris. A waxy, aromatic substance 
found floating on tropical seas and in the 
intestines of the cachalot. It is a marbled 
ashy grey in colour and is used in perfumery. 
Its original name was simply amber (see 
AMBER) from Fr. ambre, which denoted only 
this substance; when it came to be applied to 
the fossil resin (Fr. ambrejaune, yellow amber), 
this grey substance became known as amber 
gris (grey amber). 

Ambidexter properly means both hands right 
hands, and so one who can use his left hand as 
deftly as his right; in slang use, a double- 

Ambree, Mary. An English heroine, immor- 
talized by her valour at the siege of Ghent in 
1584. See the ballad in Percy's Rehques: 
When captains couragious, whom death cold not 


Did march to the siege of the citty of Gaunt, 
They mustred their souldiers by two and by three, 
And the fonnost in battle was Mary Ambree. 

Her name is proverbial for a woman of heroic 

My daughter will be valiant, 
And prove a very Mary Ambry i' the bushes. 
BEN JONSON: Tale of a Tub, i, 4. 

Ambrose, St., Bishop of Milan (b. c. 340) 
In 384 he instituted reforms in Church music 
and introduced from the Eastern Church the 
Ambrosian Chant, which was used until Pope 
Gregory the Great introduced Gregorian 
Chant two centuries later. His feast day is 
December 7th. His emblems are: (1) a 
beehive, in allusion to the legend that a swarm 
of bees settled on his mouth when lying in 
his cradle; (2) a scourge, by which he expelled 
the Arians from Italy. 

Ambrosian Library. Library in Milan 
founded by Count Federigo Borromeo (1564- 
1631), Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, in 
1609; so called in compliment to St. Ambrose, 
the patron saint. It is famous for its collection 
of illuminated MSS., including the earliest 
known a 4th-century codex of Homer. 
Ambrosia (am bro' zi a) (Gr. a, privative, 
brotos, mortal). The food of the gods, so 
called because it made them immortal. 
Anything delicious to the taste or fragrant in 
perfume is so called from the notion that 
whatever is used by the celestials must be 

... So fortunate 

Whom the Pierian sacred sisters love 
That . . . with the Gods, for former vertues meede 
On nectar and Ambrosia do feede. 

SPENSER: Ruines of Time, 393. 

Ambrosian Nights. At Ambrose's Hotel, 
Edinburgh, John Wilson (Christopher North), 
James Hogg, and other literary figures of the 

time forgathered of an evening with con- 
viviality and brilliant conversation, recorded 
(with embellishments) by North in his Noctes 
Ambrosiance, 1822). 

Ambrosius Aurelianus. A semi-mythical cham- 
pion of the British race. The story is that he 
was a descendant of the Emperor Constantine, 
that he lived in the 5th century, and that he 
/ed the Romanized Britons against the Saxon 
invaders under Hengist. He is mentioned by 
Gildas as "the last of the Romans," and he 
may have been a Count of the Saxon Shore. 
Ambry (am' bn) (Old Fr. armarfe, from Lat. 
armaria, chest or cupboard, from arma, tools, 
gear). A cupboard, locker, or recess^ The 
ambry in a church is a closed recess in the 
wall which is used for keeping books, vest- 
ments, the sacramental plate, consecrated oil, 
and so on (cp. ALMONRY). 

Avarice hath almaries, 

And yren-bounden cofres. 

Piers Plowman, xiv, 494. 

Ambs-as or Ambes-ace (amzas) (Lat. ambo- 
asses, both or two aces). Two aces, the 
lowest throw in dice; figuratively, bad luck. 

I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace 
for my life. All's Well, ii, 3. 

It was also the name of a card game, and 
was sometimes spelt aumo-ace. 
Ame damnee (Fr.), literally, a damned, or lost, 
soul; hence one's familiar or tool, one blindly 
devoted to another's wishes; and, sometimes, 
a scapegoat. 

Amelia. A model of conjugal affection, in 
Fielding's novel of that name. It is said that 
the character is intended for his own wife. 

The name is also associated with Amelia 
Sedley, one of the heroines of Vanity Fair. 
Amen Corner, at the west end of Paternoster 
Row, London, was where the monks used to 
finish the Pater Noster as they went in pro- 
cession to St. Paul's Cathedral on Corpus 
Christi Day. They began in Pateinoster Row 
with the Lord's Prayer in Latin, which was 
continued to the end of the street; then said 
Amen, at the corner or bottom of the Row; 
then turning down Ave Maria Lane, com- 
menced chanting the "Hail, Mary!" then 
crossing Ludgate, entered Creed Lane chant- 
ing the Credo. 

Paternoster Row, Amen Corner, and much 
of Ave Maria Lane were completely destroyed 
in an air raid on December 28th, 1940. 

Amen-Ra. The supreme King of the Gods 
among the ancient Egyptians, usually figured 
as a great man with two long plumes rising 
straight above his head, but sometimes with 
a ram's head, the ram being sacred to him. 
He was the patron of Thebes; his oracle was 
at the oasis of Jupiter Ammon, and he was 
identified by the Greeks with Zeus. 

Amende honorable. An anglicized French 
phrase signifying a full and frank apology. 
In mediaeval France the term was applied to 
a degrading punishment inflicted on traitors, 

garricides, and sacrilegious persons, who were 
rought into court with a rope round their 
neck, stripped to the shirt, and made to beg 
pardon of God, the king, and the court. 

A mensa et thoro 



A mensa et thoro. See A VINCULO. 

Amenthes (a men' thez). The Egyptian Hades; 
the abode of the spirits of the dead who 
were not yet fully purified. 


Amerindian (am er in' di an). This is a "port- 
manteau" word combining American and 
Indian and is applied descriptively to the 
native Red Indian races and Eskimos of the 
North American continent. 

Ames-ace. See AMBS-AS. 
Amethea. See HORSE. 

Amethyst (am'ethist) (Gr. -, not; methuein, 
to be drunken). A violet-blue variety of 
crystalline quartz supposed by the ancients 
to prevent intoxication. 

Drinking-cups made of amethyst were a 
charm against inebriety; and it was the most 
cherished of all precious stones by Roman 
matrons, from the superstition that it would 
preserve inviolate the affection of their hus- 

Amiable or Amicable Numbers. Any two 

numbers either of which is the sum of the 
ahquots of the other: thus, the aliquots of 
220 are 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 20, 22, 44, 55, 110 
the sum of which is 284; and the aliquots o 
284 are 1, 2, 4, 71, 142, the sum of which is 
220; so 220 and 284 are amicable numbers. 

Amiciis curiae (a ml' kiis ku' ri e) (Lat. a friend 
to the court). One in court who is not 
engaged in the trial or action, but who is 
invited or allowed to assist with advice or 
information. The term is now used to describe 
a disinterested adviser. 

Amiel (am' i el). In Dry den's Absalom and 
Achitophel, this is meant for Edward 
Seymour, Speaker of the House of Commons. 
The name is an anagram of Eliam (=God 
is kinsman). Eliam in 2 Sam. xxni, 34, is 
son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, and one of 
David's heroes; in 2 Sam. xi, 3, it is given as 
the name of Bathsheba's father, which, in 
1 Chron. iii, 5, appears as "Ammiel " 

Aminadab (a min' a dab). A Quaker. The 
Scripture name has a double m, but in old 
comedies, where the character represents a 
Quaker, the name has generally only one. 
Obadiah is used, also, to signify a Quaker, 
and Rachel a Quakeress. 
Amiral or Ammiral. An early form of the 
word ''admiral" (#.v.). 
Amis and Amile. See AMYS. 
Ammon (am' on). The Libyan Jupiter; the 
Greek form of the name of the Egyptian god, 
Amun (#.v.). 

Son of Ammon. Alexander the Great, who, 
on his expedition to Egypt, was thus saluted 
by the priests of the Libyan temple. 

Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high. 
POPE: Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, 117. 

His father, Philip, claimed to be a descendant 
of Hercules, and therefore of Jupiter. 

Ammonites (am' 6n itz). Fossil molluscs allied 
to the nautilus and cuttlefish. So called 
because they resemble the horn upon the 

ancient statues of Jupiter Ammon. They 
were set in brooches or as earrings in the mid- 
19th century. 

Also the people of Ammon: that is, the 
descendants of Lot by the son of his younger 
daughter, Ben-ammi (Gen. xix, 38), who are 
frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. 
Amok. See AMUCK. 

Amoret (am' or et), in Spenser's Faerie Queene, 
is the type of female loveliness young, hand- 
some, gay, witty, and good; soft as a rose, 
sweet as a violet, chaste as a lily, gentle as 
a dove, loving everybody and by all beloved. 
Hence it became a term for a sweetheart, love- 
song, love-knot, or love personified. 

He will be in his amorets, and his canzonets, his 
pastorals, and his madrigals. HEYWOOD: Love's 

For not icladde in silke was he, 
But all in flour is and flourettes, 
I-paintid all with amorettes. 

Romance of the Rose, 892. 

Amorous, The. Philip I of France (1060- 
1108); so called because he divorced his wife 
Berthe to espouse Bertrade, who was already 
married to Foulques, count of Anjou. 

Amour propre (a' moor propr) (Fr.). One's 
self-love, vanity, or opinion of what is due to 
self. To wound his amour propre, is to gall 
his good 'opinion of himself to wound his 

Ampersand (am' per sand). The character 
"&" for and. In the old horn books, after 
giving the twenty-six letters, the character & 
was added (. . . X, Y, Z, &), and was called 
"Ampersand," a corruption of "and jjer-se 
&" (and by itself, and). The symbol is an 
adaptation of the written et (Lat. and), the 
transformation of which can be traced if we 
look at the italic ampersand & where the 
"e" and the cross of the "t" are clearly 
recognizable. See TIRONIAN. 

Amphialus (am fi' a lus). In Sidney's Arcadia 
the valiant and virtuous son of the wicked 
Cecropia, in love with Philoclea ; he ultimately 
married Queen Helen of Corinth. 

Amphictyonic Council (am fik ti on' ik) (Gr. 

amphictiones, dwellers round about). In 
Greek history, the council of the Amphic- 
tyonic League, a confederation of twelve 
tribes, the deputies of which met twice a year, 
alternately at Delphi and Thermopylae. 
Throughout the whole of ancient Greek his- 
tory it exercised paramount authority over 
the oracles of the Pythian Apollo and con- 
ducted the Pythian games. 

Amphigouri (am fi goor' i). A verse composi- 
tion which, while sounding well, contains no 
sense or meaning. A good example is Swin- 
burne's well-known parody of his own style, 
Nephelidia, the opening lines of which are: 
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn 
through a notable nimbus of nebulous noon- 
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that 

flickers with fear of the flies as they float, 
Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from 

a marvel of mystic miraculous moonshine, 
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that 
thicken and threaten with throbs through the 




Here there is everything that goes to the 
making of poetry except sense; and that is 
absolutely (and, of course, purposely) lacking. 
Amphion (am fi' on). The son of Zeus and 
Antiope who, according to Greek legend, 
built Thebes by the music of his lute, which 
was so melodious that the stones danced into 
walls and houses of their own accord. 
The gift to king Amphion 
That walled a city with its melody 
Was for belief no dream. 
WORDSWORTH: Poems of the Imagination; 

On the Power of Sound. 

Amphisbffina (am fis be' na). A fabulous 
venomous serpent supposed to have a head 
at each end and to be able to move in either 
direction : 

Complicated monsters head and tail, 
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbcena dire, 
Cerastes horn'd, hydrus and elops drear, 
And dipas ... 

Paradise Lost, x, 524. 

The name is applied to a genus of S. American 


Amphitrite (am fi tri' ti). In classic mythology, 

the goddess of the sea; wife of Poseidon, 

daughter of Nereus and Doris. (Gr. amphi- 

trio for tnbo, rubbing or wearing away [the 

shore] on all sides.) 

His weary chariot sought the bowers 
Of Amphitrite and her tending nymphs. 

THOMSON: Summer (1. 1625). 

Amphitryon (am fit' ri on). Le veritable Am- 
pfutryon est T Amphitryon our on dine (Moliere). 
That is, the person who provides the feast 
(whether master of the house or not) is the 
real host The tale is that Jupiter assumed 
the likeness of Amphitryon for the purpose of 
visiting the latter's wife, Alcmena (#.v.), and 
gave a banquet at his house; but Amphitryon 
came home and claimed the honour of being 
the master of the house. As far as the servants 
and the guests were concerned, the dispute was 
soon decided "he who gave the feast was 
to them the host/* 

Amphrysian Prophetess (am fri' zi an) (Am- 
phrysia Vates). The Cumaean sibyl; so called 
from Amphrysus, a river of Thessaly, on the 
banks of which Apollo fed the herds of 

Ampoulle, La Sainte (lasant^am pool 11 ). The 
vessel containing oil used in anointing the 
kings of France, and said to have been brought 
from heaven by a dove for the coronation 
service of St. Louis. It was preserved at 
Rheims till the first Revolution, when it was 

Amram's Son. Moses. (Exod. vi, 20). 
As when ihe potent rod 

Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, 

Waved round the coast. 

MILTON. Paradise Lost, i, 338, 

Amri (am' ri). In Dryden's Absalom and 
Achitophel is designed for Heneage Finch, 
Earl of Nottingham and Lord Chancellor. 

Amrita (amre'ta) (Sanskrit). In Hindu 
mythology, the elixir of immortality, the soma- 
juice, corresponding to the ambrosia (#.v.) of 
classical mythology. 

Lo, Krishna 1 lo, the one that thirsts for thee! 

Give him the drink of amrit from thy lips. 
Sir ED\VIN ARNOLD: Indian Song of Songs. 

Amuck. A Malay adjective, amog, meaning 
to be in a state of frenzy. To run amuck 
is to indulge in physical violence while m a 
state of frenzy. 

Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet 
To run amuck and tilt at all I meet. 

POPE: Satires, i, 69-70. 

Amulet. Something worn, generally round 
the neck, as a charm. The word was formerly 
connected with the Arabic himalah, the name 
given to the cord that secured the Koran to 
the person and was sometimes regarded as a 
charm- but it has nothing to do with this, 
and is from the Latin amuletum, a preservative 
against sickness, through French amulette. 

The early Christians used to wear amulets 
called Ichthus (q.v.). See also NOTARIKON. 
Amun (am' fin). An Egyptian deity, usually 
represented with a ram's head with large 
curved horns, and a human body, or as a 
human figure with two long upright plumes 
springing from the head and holding a sceptre 
and the symbol of life. An immense number 
of temples were dedicated to him and he was, 
identified by the Greeks with Zeus. His 
oracle was in the oasis of Jupiter Ammon. 

Amyclsean Silence (am i kle' an). Amyclas was 
a Laconian town in the south of Sparta, ruled 
by the mythical Tyndareus." The inhabitants 
had so often been alarmed by false rumours 
of the approach of the Spartans, that they 
made a decree forbidding mention of the sub- 
ject. When the Spartans actually came no 
one dare give warning, and the town was 
taken. Hence the proverb, more silent than 

Castor and Pollux were born at Amycte, 
and are hence sometimes referred to as the 
Amyclaean Brothers. 

Amyris plays the Fool (a ml' ris). An expres- 
sion used of one who assumes a false character 
with an ulterior object, like Junius Brutus. 
Amyris was a Sybarite sent to Delphi to con- 
sult the Oracle, who informed him of the 
approaching destruction of his nation: he fled 
to Peloponnesus and his countrymen called 
him a fool; but, like the madness of David, 
his "folly" was true wisdom, for thereby he 
saved his life. 

Amys and Amylion (a' mis, a mil' i on). A 
French romance of the 13th century telling 
the story of the friendship between two heroes 
of the Carlovingian wars. The story cul- 
minates in Amylon's sacrifice of his children 
to save his friend. 

Anabaptists. Originally, a Christian sect 
which arose in Germany about 1521, the 
members of which did not believe in infant 
baptism and hence were baptized over again 
(Gr. anaover again) on coming to years of 

Applied in England as a nickname, and 
more or less opprobriously, to the Baptists, a 
body of Dissenters holding similar views. 

Anacharsis (an a kar' sis). A princely Scy- 
thian named Anacharsis left his native country 
to travel in pursuit of knowledge. He reached 
Athens about 594 B.C. and became acquainted 
with Solon. 




In 1788 the Abb6 Barthelemy published 
Le voyage du Jeune Anacharsis, a description 
of Greece in the time of Pericles and Philip. 
He worked thirty years on preparing this book 
and at one time it was extremely popular and 
had great influence on the young. Baron 
Jean Baptiste Clootz (1755-1794), a Prussian 
brought up in France, assumed the name of 
Anacharsis after travelling about Greece and 
other countries in search of knowledge. He 
was caught up in the Revolution, when he 
took to himself the title of The Orator of the 
Human Race. He was guillotined by Robes- 
pierre in 1794. 

Anaclethra. Another name for the agelasta 


Anacreon (a nak' ri on). A Greek lyric poet, 

who wrote chiefly in praise of love and wine 

(about 563-478 B.C.). 

Anacreon Moore. Thomas Moore (1779- 
1852), who not only translated Anacreon into 
English, but also wrote original poems in the 
same style. 

Anacreon of Painters. Francesco Albano, 
a painter of beautiful women (1578-1660). 

Anacreon of the Guillotine. Bertrand Barere 
de Vieuzac (1755-1841), president of the 
National Convention; so called from the 
flowery language and convivial jests used by 
him towards his miserable victims. 

Anacreon of the Temple. Guillaume Am- 
frye (1639-1720), abbe" de Chaulieu; French 
man of letters and man of the world ; called by 
Voltaire (whom he encouraged) " the greatest 
of neglected poets." 

Anacreon of the Twelfth Century. Walter 
Mapes (about 1140-1210), also called "The 
Jovial Toper/' His best-known piece is the 
famous drinking-song, "Meum est propositum 
in taberna mori." 

The French Anacreon. Pontus de Thiard, 
one of the Pleiad poets (1521-1605); also 
P. Laujon (1727-1811). 

The Persian Anacreon. Hafiz (b. Shirza, 
d. c. 1389), greatest of Persian poets; his 
collected odes are known as The Duan. 

The Scottish Anacreon. Alexander Scot, who 
flourished about 1550. 

The Sicilian Anacreon. Giovanni Meli 

Anachronism (Gr. ana chronos, out of time). 
An event placed at a wrong date. 

Shakespeare has several more or less glaring 
examples. In 1 Henry IV, ii, 5, the carrier 
complains that the turkeys in his Cannier are 
quite starved; whereas turkeys were introduced 
from America, which was not discovered until 
a century after Henry's time. Again, in 
Julius Ccesar, ii, 1, the clock strikes and 
Cassius says, "The clock has stricken three.*' 
But striking clocks were not invented until 
some 1400 years after the days of Caesar. 
The great mine of literary anachronisms is 
to be found in the mediaeval romances of 
chivalry, where Charlemagne, Edward III, 
Saracens and Romans all appear as living 

Anagram (Gr. ana graphein, to write over 
again). A word or phrase formed by trans- 
posing and writing over again the letters of 
some other word or phrase. Among the 
many famous examples are : 

Dame Eleanor Davies (prophetess in the reign of 
Charles I)= Never so mad a lady. 

Gustayus = A ugustus. 

Horatio Nelson=/fort0r est a Nilo. 

Queen Victoria's Jubilee Year=/ require love in a 

Quid est Veritas (John xviii, 38)?= Vir est qui adest. 

Marie Touchet (mistress of Charles IX, of France) 
= Je charme tout (made by Henry IV). 

Voltaire is an anagram of Arouet /(e);(ewne). 

These are interchangeable words : 

Alcuinus and Calvmus; Amor and Roma; Eros 
and Rose; Evil and Live; and many more. 

Ananas [Peruvian nanas]. The pineapple. 
Through the final "s" having been mistaken 
for the sign of the plural, an erroneous 
singular, anana, is sometimes used: 

Witness thou, best Anana! thou the pride 

Of vegetable life. 

THOMSON: Summer, 685. 

Anastasia, St. (an as ta' zi a). A saint mar- 
tyred in the reign of Nero, and commemorated 
on April 15. Her emblems are a stake and 
faggots, with a palm branch in her hand. 

Anathema (& nath' i ma). A denunciation or 
curse. The word is Greek, and means "a 
thing devoted" originally, a thing devoted 
to any purpose, e.g. to the gods, but later only 
a thing devoted to evil, hence, an accursed 
thing. It has allusion to the custom of hang- 
ing in the temple of a patron god something 
devoted to him. Thus Gordius hung up his 
yoke and beam; the shipwrecked hung up 
their wet clothes; retired workmen hung up 
their tools; cured cripples their crutches, etc. 

Anatomy. He was like an anatomy i.e. a 
mere skeleton, very thin, like one whose flesh 
had been anatomized or cut off. Shakespeare 
uses atomy as a synonym. Thus in 2 Henry 
IV, v, 4, Quickly says to the Beadle: "Thou 
atomy, thou!" and Doll Tearsheet caps the 
phrase with, '* Come, you thin thing; come 
you rascal." 

Ancaeus (an se' us). Helmsman of the ship 
Argo, after the death of Tiphys. He was told 
by a slave that he would never live to taste the 
wine of his vineyards. When wine from his 
own grapes was set before him on his return, he 
sent for the slave to laugh at his prognostica- 
tions,* but the slave made answer. "There's 
many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." At 
this instant a messenger came in, and told 
Ancaeus that the Calydonian boar was laying 
his vineyard waste, whereupon he set c|own his 
cup, went out against the boar, and was killed 
in the encounter. 

Anchor. In Christian symbolism the anchor 
is the sign of hope, in allusion to Heb. vi, 19, 
"Hope we have as an anchor of the soul." 
In art it is an attribute of Clement of Rome 
and Nicholas of Bari. Pope Clement, in A.D. 
80, was bound to an anchor and cast into the 
sea; Nicholas of Bari is the patron saint of 




The anchor is apeak. That is, the cable of 
the anchor is so tight that the ship is drawn 
completely over it. 

The anchor comes home. The anchor has 
been dragged from its hold. Figuratively, 
the enterprise has failed, notwithstanding the 
precautions employed. 

To weigh anchor. To haul in the anchor, 
that the ship may sail away from its mooring. 
Figuratively, to begin an enterprise which has 
hung on hand. 

Anchor light. A white light shown from 
the forward part of an anchored vessel and 
visible all round the horizon. 

Anchor watch. A watch of one or two men, 
while the vessel rides at anchor, in port. 

Anchorite (ang' kor It). This is from a Greek 
word meaning "recluse," and it was applied 
to those who retired to the desert or solitary 
places for a life of contemplation and religious 
exercises. The classes of such ascetics are: 
monks, who adopt a secluded form of life but 
live in community; hermits, who withdraw to 
desert places but live in caves and occupy 
themselves manually; anchorites, who choose 
the greatest solitudes and deny themselves 
shelter and all but a minimum of food. 

Ancien Regime (Fr.). The old order of things ; 
a phrase used during the French Revolution 
for the old Bourbon monarchy, or the system 
of government, with all its evils, which existed 
prior to that great change. 

Ancient. A corruption of ensign a flag and 
the officer who bore it. Pistol was Falstaff's 

Ten times more dishonourable ragged than an 
old-faced ancient SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry IV, iv, 2. 

My whole charge consists of ancients, corporals, 
lieutenants, gentlemen of companies. . . . 

1 Henry IV, iv, 2. 

Ancient Mariner. The story in Coleridge's 
Rime of the Ancient Mariner (first published 
in the Lyrical Ballads, 1798) is founded partly 
on a dream told by the author's friend, 
Cruickshank, and partly on passages in various 
books that he had read. Wordsworth told 
him the story of the privateer George Shel- 
vocke who, while rounding Cape Horn in the 
Speedwell, in 1720, shot a black albatross. 
For many weeks following the vessel encoun- 
tered bad weather, being driven hither and 
thither before making the coast of Chile, 
and this ill luck was attributed to the shooting 
of the bird. Thomas James's Strange and 
Dangerous Voyage (1683) is thought to have 
suggested some of the more eerie episodes, 
while the Letter of St. Paulinas to Macarius, 
in which he relates astounding -wonders con- 
cerning the shipwreck of an old man (1618), 
giving a story of how there is only one sur- 
vivor of a crew and how the ship was 
navigated by angels and steered by "the 
Pilot of the World," may have furnished the 
basis of part of the Rime. 

Ancient of Days. A scriptural name given 
to God (Dan. vii, 9). 

Ancile (an 7 sll). The Palladium of Rome; the 
sacred buckler said to have fallen from heaven 
in the time of Numa. To prevent its being 
stolen, he caused eleven others to be made 
precisely like it, and confided them to the 
twelve Salii, dancing priests of Mars (see 
SALIENS), who bore them in procession through 
the city every year at the beginning of March. 
And, "<." See AMPERSAND. 
Andiron (and' Iron). A fire-dog; that is, a 
contrivance consisting of a short horizontal 
bar projecting from an upright stand or rod, 
the whole usually of iron, for the purpose of 
holding up the ends of logs in a wood fire. 
Though the contrivance is made of iron the 
word originally had nothing to do with the 
metal, but is from the Old French andier, after 
the late Latin andedus, andena, or anderiuv. 
The English form of the word like the Latin 
has, even in modern times, had many varia- 
tions, such as end-iron and hand-iron. And- 
irons are also known as dogs, or fire-dogs. 
Andrea Ferrara (an dra' a f6 ra' ra). A sword, 
also called, from the same cause, an Andrew 
and a Ferrara. All these expressions are 
common in Elizabethan literature. So called 
from a famous 16th-century sword-maker of 
the name. 

Here's old tough Andrew . . . 

JOHN FLETCHER: The Chances (1618), 
Andrew, a name used in old plays for a valet 
or manservant. See MERRY ANDREW. 

Andrew, St., depicted in Christian art as 
an old man with long white hair and beard, 
holding the Gospel in his right hand, and lean- 
ing on a St. Andrew's cross. His day is 
November 30th. It is said that he suffered 
martyrdom in Patras (A.D. 70). See RULE, ST. 

Andrew Macs, The. A slang name for the 
crew of H.M.S. Andromache. Similarly, the 
Bellerophon was called by English sailors 
"Billy ruffian," and the Achilles the 4 'Ash 
heels." These corruptions are similar to 
some of those given under BEEFEATER (q.v.). 

Androcles and the Lion (an dro' klez). An 
Oriental apologue on the benefits to be 
expected as a result of gratitude; told in 
jEsop, and by Aulus Gelhus, in the Gesta 
Romanorum, etc., but of unknown antiquity. 

Androcles was a runaway slave who took 
refuge in a cavern. A lion entered, and 
instead of tearing him to pieces, lifted up his 
fore paw that Androcles might extract from it 
a thorn. The slave being subsequently cap- 
tured, was doomed to fight with a lion in the 
Roman arena. It so happened that the same 
lion was let out against him, and recognizing 
his benefactor, showed towards him every 
demonstration of love and gratitude. 
Android. An old name for an automaton 
figure resembling a human being (Gr. andros- 
eidos, a man's likeness). 
Andromache (n drom' a ki). In Greek legend 
she was the wife of Hector, subsequently of 
Neoptolemus, and finally of Helenus, Hec- 
tor's brother. It is also the title of a play of 

Andromeda (an drom' e da). Daughter of 
Cepheus and Cassiopeia. Her mother boasted 




that the beauty of Andromeda surpassed that 
of the Nereids; so the Nereids induced Neptune 
to send a sea-monster to the country, and an 
oracle declared that Andromeda must be given 
UD to it. She was accordingly chained to a 
rock but was delivered by Perseus, who 
married her and, at the wedding, slew Phmeus, 
to whom she had been previously promised, 
with all his companions. After death she was 
placed among the stars. 
Angary, Right of. The right of a belligerent, 
under stress of necessity, to .confiscate or 
destroy neutral property, especially shipping, 
subject to claim for compensation. 
Angel In post-canonical and apocalyptic 
literature angels are grouped in varying orders, 
and the hierarchy thus constructed was 
adapted to Church uses by the early Christian 
Fathers. In his De Hierarchia -Celesti the 
pseudo-Dionysius (early 5th century) gives the 
names of the nine orders ;.they are taken from 
the Old Testament, Eph, i, 21, and Col. i, 16, 
and are as follows: . 

Seraphim and Cherubim, m the first circle 
Thrones and Dominions, in the second, 
Virtues, Powers, Principalities, 
Archangels and Angels in the third. 

Botticelli's great picture, The Assumption 
of the Virgin, in the National Gallery, London, 
well illustrates the mediaeval conception of the 

W " 

me seven may angels areMichael, 
Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamue , Jophiel, 
and Zadkiel Michael and Gabriel are men- 
tioned in the Bible, Raphael in the Apocrypha, 
and all in the apocryphal book of Enoch 

(V MiUon (Paradise Lost, Bk. i, 392) gives a 
list of the fallen angels. , 

Mohammedans say that angels were creaiea 
from pure, bright gems; the genii, of fire; and 
man, of clay. 

AngeL An obsolete English com, current 
from the time of Edward IV to that of 
Charles I, its full name being. the Angel- 
noble as it was originally a reissue of the 
noble fo.v.), bearing the figure of the archangel 
Michael slaying the dragon. Its value varied 
from 6s. 8d. m 1465 (when first coined) to 
10s under Edward VI. It was the com 
presented to persons touched for the King's 

Angel. In modern theatrical parlance the 
word is used to denote the financial backer to 
a play. 

Angel of the Schools. St. Thomas Aquinas. 
On the side of the angels. See SIDE. 
Angels of Mons. The 3rd and 4th Divisions 
of the Old Contemptibles, under the command 
of Gen. Smith-Dorrien, were sorely pressed in 
the retreat from Mons, August 26th and 27th, 
1914. Their losses were heavy, and that mey 
survived at all was by some Attributed to 
divine interposition. Writing from Meet 
Street, Arthur Machen, a London journalist, 
described with great verisimilitude the host of 
angels who, clad in conventional white and 

armed with flaming swords, held back the 
might of the German First Army. What at 
first had been a "might have been became 
with some a "had been"; the Angels of Mons 
thus grew into a phrase and a fable. 

Angel-beast. A 17th-century card-game. 
Five cards were dealt to each player, and three 
heaps formed one for the king, one for pla\, 
and the third for Triolet, The name of the 
game was la bete (beast), and an angel was a 
usual stake; hence the full name, much as we 
speak of "halfpenny nap," or shilling 

aU TMs n g entleman offers to play at Angel-beast, 
though he scarce knows the cards. SEDLEY : Mul- 
berry Garden (1668). 

Angel visits. Delightful intercourse of 
short duration and rare occurrence. 

Like those of angels, short and far between. 

BLAIR: Grave, n, 586. 
Like angel visits, few and far between. 

CAMPBELL: Pleasures of Hope, n, 378. 
Angel-water. An old Spanish cosmetic, 
made of roses, trefoil, and lavender So 
called because it was originally made chiefly 
of angelica. 

Ansel-water was the worst scent about ner. 

Sedley. Bell am. 

Angelic Brothers. A sect of Dutch Pietists 
founded in the 16th century by George Gichtel. 
Their views on marriage were similar to those 
held by the Abehtes and Adamites (qq.v.). 

Angelic Doctor. Thomas Aquinas was so 
called, because of the purity and excellence ol 
his teaching. His exposition of the most 
recondite problems of theology and philosophy 
was iudged to be the fruit of almost more than 
human intelligence and within the present 
century a Pope has laid it down that from bt. 
Thomas and his Summa Theologica all teaching 
must derive. 

Angelic Hymn, The. The hymn beginning 
with Glory be to God m the highest, etc. (Luke 
ii 14)- so called because the former part of 
it* was' sung by the angel host that appeared 
to the shepherds of Bethlehem. 

Angelic Salutation, The. The Ave Maria 

Angelical Stone. The speculum of Dr. Dee. 
He asserted that it was given him by the angels 
Raphael and Gabriel. It passed into the 
possession of the Earl of Peterborough, thence 
to Lady Betty Germaine, by whom it was given 
to the Duke of Argyll, whose son Presented it 
to Horace Walpole. It was sold in 1 842, at the 
dispersal of the curiosities of Strawberry Hill. 
Angelica (anjel'ika). This beautiful but 
fickle young woman was the heroine ot 
Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato and Ariosto s 
Orlando Furioso. Orlando's unrequited love 
for her drove him mad. The name was used 
also by Congreve for the principal character 
in Love for Love and by Farquhar m The 
Constant Couple and Sir Harry Wildair. 
Angelus, The (an' je lus). A Roman. Catholic 
devotion in honour of the Incarnation, con- 
sisting of three texts, each said as versicle 
and response and followed by the Ave Maria, 

Angevin Kings of England 



and a prayer. So called from the first words, 
"Angelus Domini" (The Angel of the Lord, 

The prayer is recited three times a day, at 
6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m., at the sound of a 
bell called the Angelas. 

Angevin Kings of England (an'jevin). The 
early Plantagenet kings, from Henry 11 to 
John. Anjou first became connected with 
England in 1127, when Matilda, daughter of 
Henry I, married Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou ; 
their son became Henry II of England (and 
Count of Anjou), and until 1205 Anjou was 
united to the English crown. Cp. PLANTA- 

Angle, A Dead. A term applied in old books 
on fortification to the ground before an angle 
in a wall which can neither be seen nor 
defended from the parapet. 

Angle with a silver hook. To buy fish at 
market; said of an angler who, having been 
unsuccessful, purchases fish that will enable 
him to conceal his failure. 

The Father of Angling, Izaak Walton 
(1593-1683). See GENTLE CRAFT, THE. 
Angles. Non Angli, sed angeli (Not Angles, 
but angels). Pope Gregory the Great (reigned 
590-604) who sent St. Augustine to convert 
the English, is said to have made this remark. 
He saw some fair-haired boys from England 
in the Roman slave market and inquired about 
them. On being told that they were Angles, 
he said, "Not Angles, but Angels had they 
but the Gospel." 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. This relates the 
history of England from the birth of Christ to 
1154. It is written in Anglo-Saxon, is p in 
prose, and was probably begun in the time 
of Alfred the Great. It is valuable for the 
information it gives regarding the 8th and 9th 

Angra Mainyu. See AHRIMAN. 
Angurvadel. Frithiof's sword, inscribed with 
runic letters, which blazed in time of war, but 
gleamed with a dim light in time of peace. 

Anima Mundi (an' i ma mfin' dl) (the soul of 
the world), with the oldest of the ancient 
philosophers, meant "the source of life"; 
with Plato, it meant "the animating principle 
of matter," inferior to pure spirit; with the 
Stoics, it meant " the whole vital force of the 

G, E. Stahl (1660-1734) taught that the 
phenomena of animal life are due to an im- 
mortal anima, or vital principle distinct from 

Animals in Heaven, According to Moham- 
medan legend the following ten animals have 
been allowed to enter paradise: 

(1) Jonah's whale; (2) Solomon's ant; 
(3) the ram caught by Abraham and sacrificed 
instead of Isaac; (4) the lapwing of Balkis; 
(5) the camel of the prophet Saleh; (6) Balaam's 
ass; (7) the ox of Moses; (8) the dog Kratim 
of the Seven Sleepers; (9) Al Borak, Moham- 
med's ass; and (10) Noah's dove. 

Animals in art. Some animals are appro- 
priated to certain saints: as the calf or ox to 
St. Luke; the cock to St. Peter; the eagle to 
St. John the Divine; the lion to St.. Mark and 
St. Jerome; the raven to St. Benedict, etc. 

Animals sacred to special deities. To 
Apollo, the wolf, the griffon and the crow; 
to Bacchus, the dragon and the panther; to 
Diana, the stag; to jEsculapius, the serpent; 
to Hercules, the deer; to Isis, the heifer; to 
Jupiter, the eagle; to Juno, the peacock and 
the lamb; to the Lares, the dog; to Mars, the 
horse and the vulture; to Mercury, the cock; 
to Minerva, the owl; to Neptune, the bull; to 
Tethys, the halcyon; to Venus the dove, the 
swan, and the sparrow; to Vulcan, the lion, 

Animals in symbolism. The lamb, the 
pelican, and the unicorn, are symbols of 
Christ. , . ,. 

The dragon, serpent, and swine, symbolize 
Satan and his crew. 

The ant symbolizes frugality and prevision; 
ape, uncleanness, malice, lust, and cunning; 
ass stupidity; bantam cock, p luckiness, prig- 
gishness; bat, blindness; bear, ill-temper, un- 
couthness; bee, industry; beetle, blindness; 
bull, strength, straightforwardness; bull-dog, 
pertinacity; butterfly, sportiveness, Hying m 

Eleasure; camel, submission; cat, deceit; calf, 
ompishness, cowardice; cicada, poetry; cock, 
vigilance, overbearing insolence; crow, 
longevity; crocodil-e, hypocrisy; cuckoo, 
cuckoldom; dog, fidelity, dirty habits; dove, 
innocence, harmlessness; duck, deceit (French, 
canard, a hoax); eagle, majesty, inspiration; 
elephant, sagacity, ponderosity; fly, feeble- 
ness, insignificance; fox, cunning, artifice; 
frog and toad, inspiration; goat, lascivious- 
ness; goose, conceit, folly; gull, gullibility; 
grasshopper, old age; hare, timidity; hawk, 
rapacity, penetration; hen, maternal care; 
hog, impurity; horse, speed, grace; jackdaw, 
vain assumption, empty conceit; jay, senseless 
chatter; kitten, playfulness; Iamb, innocence, 
sacrifice; lark, cheerfulness; leopard, sin; lion, 
noble courage; lynx, suspicious vigilance; 
magpie, garrulity; mole, blindness, obtuse- 
ness; monkey, tricks; mule, obstinacy; 
nightingale, forlornness; ostrich, stupidity; 
ox, patience, strength, and pride; owl, wisdom; 
parrot, mocking verbosity^ peacock, _ pride; 
pigeon, cowardice (pigeon-livered) ; pig, ob- 
stinacy, dirtiness, gluttony; puppy, conceit; 
rabbit, fecundity; raven, ill luck; robin red- 
breast, confiding trust; serpent, wisdom; sheep, 
silliness, timidity; sparrow, lasciviousness ; 
spider, wiliness; stag, cuckoldom; swan, 
grace; tiger, ferocity; tortoise, chastity; turkey- 
cock, official insolence; turtle-dove, conjugal 
fidelity; vulture, rapine; wolf, cruelty, ferocity; 
worm, cringing; etc. 

Animals, Cries of. To the cry, call, or voice 
of many animals a special name is given ; to 
apply these names indiscriminately is always 
wrong and frequently ludicrous. Thus, we 
do not speak of the " croak " of a dog or the 
44 bark " of a bee. Apes gibber; asses bray; 
bees hum; beetles drone; bears growl; bitterns 
boom; blackbirds and thrushes whistle; bulls 



Anodyne Necklace 

bellow; cats mew, purr, swear, and caterwaul; 
calves bleat; chaffinches chirp or pink; 
chickens peep; cocks crow; cows moo or 
low; crows caw; cuckoos cry cuckoo; deer 
bell; dogs bark, bay, howl, and yelp; doves 
coo; ducks quack; eagles, vultures, and 
peacocks scream; falcons chant; flies buzz; 
foxes bark % and yelp; frogs croak; geese 
cackle and hiss; grasshoppers chirp and pitter; 
guineafowls cry "Come back'*; and guinea- 
pigs and hares squeak; hawks scream; hens 
cackle and cluck; horses neigh and whinny; 
hyenas laugh; jays and magpies chatter; 
kittens mew; linnets chuckle in their call; 
lions and tigers roar and growl; mice squeak 
and squeal; monkeys chatter and gibber; 
nightingales pipe and warble we also speak 
of its "jug-jug"; owls hoot and screech; 
oxen low and bellow; parrots talk; peewits cry 
pee-wit; pigeons coo; pigs grunt, squeak, and 
squeal; ravens croak; rooks caw; screech- 
owls screech or shriek; sheep and lambs baa 
or bleat; snakes hiss; sparrows chirp; stags 
bellow and* call; swallows twitter; swans cry 
and are said to sing just before death (see 
SWAN); turkey-cocks gobble; wolves howl. 
Most birds, besides many of those here 
mentioned, sing, but we speak of the chick- 
chick of the black-cap, the drumming of the 
grouse, and the chirr of the whitethroat. 

Animosity meant originally animation, spirit, 
as the fire of a horse, called in Latin equi 
animositas. Its present exclusive use in a 
bad sense is an instance of the tendency which 
words originally neutral have to assume a 
bad meaning. 

Animula, vagula, etc. (an im' u la v&g' u la). 
The opening of a poem to his soul, ascribed 
by his biographer, ^Elius Spartianus, to the 
dying Emperor Hadrian: 

Anknula, vagula, blandula, 

Hospes, comesque corporis; 

Quae nunc abibis in loca, 

Pallidula, rigida, nudula; 

Nee ut soles, dabis jocos ! 

It was Englished by Byron : 
Ah! gentle,, fleeting, wavering sprite, 
Friend and associate of this clayl 

To what unknown region bonle, 
Wilt thou now wing thy distant flight? 
No more with wonted humour gay, 

But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn. 

Ann, Mother. Ann Lee (1736-1784), the 
founder and " spiritual mother " of the 
American Society of Shakers (g.v.). 

Annabel, in Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, 
is designed for Anne Scott, Duchess of Mon- 
mouth and Countess of Buccleuch, the richest 
heiress in Europe The duke was faithless to 
her, and, after his death, the widow, still 
handsome, married again. 
To all his [Monmouth'sJ wishes, nothing he [David] 

denied ; 
And made the charming Annabel his bride. 

Annates (an'atz) (Lat. annus, a year). One 
entire year's income claimed by the Pope on 
the appointment of a bishop or other ecclesias- 
tic in the Catholic Church, also called the, 
first fruits,. By the Statute of Recusants 
(25 Hen, VIII, c. 20 y and the Confirming Act), 

the right to English Annates and Tenths was 
transferred to the Crown ; but, in the reign of 
Queen Anne, annates were given up to form a 
fund for the augmentation of poor livings. 


Anne's Great Captain. The Duke of Marl- 
borough (1650-1722). 

Annie Laurie was eldest of the three daughters 
of Sir Robert Laurie, of Maxwelton, born 
December 16th, 1682. William Douglas, of 
Fingland (Kirkcudbright), wrote the popular 
song, but Annie married, in 1709, James Fer- 
gusson, of Craigdarroch, and was the grand- 
mother of Alexander Fergusson, the hero of 
Burns's song called The Whistle. 

Anno Domini (an' 6 dom' i nl) (Lat.). In the 
Year of our Lord; i.e. in the year since the 
Nativity: generally abbreviated to "A.D." It 
was Dionysius Exiguus who fixed the date of 
the Nativity; he lived in the early 6th century, 
and his computation is probably late by some 
three to six years. 

The phrase is sometimes used as a slang 
synonym for old age; thus, "Anno Domini 
is his trouble," means that he is suffering from 
senile decay. 

Annunciation, The Day of the. March 25th, 
also called Lady Day, on which the angel 
announced to the Virgin Mary that she would 
be the mother of the Messiah. 

Order of the Annunciation. An Italian 
order of military knights, founded as the 
Order of the Collar by Amadeus VI of Savoy 
in 1362, and dating under its present name 
from 1518. It has on its collar the letters 
F E R T. Fen (Lat. he bears) is an ancient 
motto of the House of Savoy; but the letters, 
have also been interpreted as standing for the 
initials of Fortitudo Ejus Rhodum Tenuit, in 
allusion to the succour rendered to Rhodes 
by Savoy in 1310; Fcedere et Religions 
Tenemur, on the gold doubloon of Victor 
Amadeus I (1718-1730); or, Fortitudo Ejus 
Rempublicam Tenet. 

Sisters of the Annunciation. See FRAN- 

Annus Loetus (an'iis liik'tQs) (Lat. the year 
of mourning). The period during which a 
widow is supposed to remain unmarried. If 
she marries within about nine months from 
the death of her husband and a child is born r 
a doubt might arise as to its paternity. Such 
a marriage is not illegal. 

Annus Mirabilis (an' us mir aV i Us). The 
year of wonders, 1666, memorable for the 
great fire of London and the successes of 
English arms over the Dutch. Dryden wrote a 
poem with this title, in which he described 
both these events. 

Anodyne Necklace, An. An anodyne is a 
medicine to relieve pain, and the anodyne 
necklace was an amulet supposed to be 
efficacious against various diseases. In John- 
son's Idler i No. 40, we read: 

The true pathos of advertisements must have sunk 
deep into the heart of every man that remembers the 
zeal shown by the seller of the anodyne necklace,. 
for the ease and safety of poor toothing infants. 




The term soon came to be applied to the 
hangman's noose, and we have George Prim- 
rose saying: 

May I die by an anodyne necklace, but I had 
rather be an under-turnkey than an usher in a board- 
mg-school. GOLDSMITH: Vicar of Wakefield, ch. x\. 

Anon. The O.E. on one, in one (state, mind, 
course, body, etc.), the present meaning 
soon., in a little while being a misuse of the 
earlier meaning straightway, at once much 
as directly and immediately are misused. 
Mark i, 30, gives an instance of the old 

But Simon's \vife's mother lay sick of a fever, and 
anon they tell him of her. 

this is the Authorized Version; the Revised 
Version gives straightway. Wordsworth's 
Fast the churchyard fills; anon 
Look again, and they all are gone. 

White Doc of Rylstone, i, 31. 

exemplifies the later meaning. The word 
also was used by servants, tapsters, etc., as 
an interjectory reply meaning "Coming, sir!" 

Answer is the O.E. and-swaru, verb and- 
swarian or swerian, where and is the preposi- 
tion=the Lat. ie in re-ypond-eo. To wear 
0?.v.) means literally "to affirm something," 
and to an-swear is to "say something" by 
way of rejoinder. 

To answer its purpose. To carry out what 
was expected or what was intended. 

To answer more Scotico. To divert the 
direct question by starting another question 
or subject. 

Antaeus (an te' us), in Greek mythology, a 
gigantic wrestler (son of Earth and Sea, Ge 
and Poseidon), whose strength was invincible 
so long as he touched the earth. When he 
was lifted his strength diminished, but it was 
renewed by touching the earth again. 

Antarctica (an tark' tik a). The name given 
to the great continent that covers the region 
of the South Pole. Its area is about 5,000,000 
sq. miles. It contains mountains from 8,000 
to 1 5,000 ft. in height, with several volcanoes, 
of which only one, Mt. Erebus, is now active. 
There are no land animals, but it is notable 
for its penguins. There is no international 
agreement as to territorial rights, which lie 
largely between Britain, the Commonwealth of 
Australia and Argentina. 

Antediluvian. Before the Deluge. The word 
is colloquially used in a disparaging way for 
anything that is very out of date. 

Anthology. The Greek anthology is a col- 
lection of several thousand short Greek poems 
by many authors of every period of Greek 
literature from the Persian war to the decad- 
ence of Byzantium. The most complete 
edition was published in 1794-1814. 
Anthony the Great, St. The patron saint of 
swineherds; he lived in the 4th century, and 
was the founder of the fraternity of ascetics 
who lived in the deserts. The story of his 
temptations by the devil is well known m 
literature and art. His day is 17th January. 
Not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua, 
who Vvas a Franciscan of the 13th century, and 

is commemorated on June 13th. See also 

St. Anthony's fire. Erysipelas is so called 
from the tradition that those who sought the 
intercession of St. Anthony recovered from 
the pestilential erysipelas called the sacred 
fire, which proved so fatal in 1089. 

St. Anthony's pig. A pet pig, the smallest 
of the litter, also called the "tantony pig" 
(tf.v.); in allusion to St. Anthony being the 
patron saint of swineherds. 

The term is also used of a sponger or hanger- 
on. Stow says that the officers of the market 
used to slit the ears of pigs unfit for food. 
One day one of the proctors of St. Anthony's 
Hospital tied a bell about a pig whose ear 
was slit, and no one would ever hurt it. The 
pig would follow like a dog anyone who fed it. 

Anthroposophus (an thro pos' 6 fus). The 
nickname of Thomas Vaughan (1622-1666), 
the alchemist, twin-brother of Henry Vaughan, 
the Silurist. He was rector of St^Bridget's in 
Brecknockshire, and was so called from his 
Anthroposophia Teomagica (1650), a book 
written to show the condition of man after 

Anthroposophy (an thro pos' 6 fi). The word 
comes from the Greek anthropos., a man, and 
sop/na, knowledge, and is the name given to 
a system of esoteric philosophy enunciated by 
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) who defined it as 
"the knowledge of the spiritual human being 
. , . and of everything which the spirit man 
can perceive in the spiritual world." 

Antic Hay. See HAY. 

Antichrist. The many legends connected 
with Antichrist, or the Man of Sin, expected 
by some to precede the second coming of 
Christ, that were so popular in the Middle 
Ages are chiefly founded on 2 Thes. ii, 1-12, 
and Rev. xiii. In ancient times Antichrist 
was identified with Caligula, Nero, etc., and 
there is little doubt that in 2 Thes. ii, 7, St. Paul 
was referring to the Roman Empire. Mo- 
hammed was also called Antichrist, and the 
name has been given to many disturbers of 
the world's peace, even to Napoleon and to 
William II of Germany (see NUMBER OF THE 
BEAST). The Mohammedans have a legend 
that Christ will slay the Antichrist at the gate 
of the church at Lydda, in Palestine. 

Anti-pope. A pope chosen or nominated by 
temporal authority in opposition to one 
canonically elected by the cardinals; or one 
who usurps the papacy: the term is par- 
ticularly applied to rival claimants to the 
papal Throne during the Great Schism of the 
West, 1309-1376. They are: 
Nicholas V 1328-1330 Clement XIII 1424-1429 
Clement VII 1378-1394 Benedict XIV 1424 
Benedict XIII 1394-1424 Felix V 1439-1449 

Antigone (an tig' 6 ni). The subject of a 
tragedy by Sophocles; she was the daughter 
of CEdipus by his mother, Jocasta, In con- 
sequence of disobeying an edict of Creon she 
was imprisoned in a cave, where she slew 
herself. She was famed for her devotion to her 
brother, Polynices, hence the Duchess of 




Angouleme (1778-1851), sister and prison 
companion of Louis XVII, was sometimes 
called the Modern Antigone. 

Antimony (an' ti mon i). A word of unknown, 
but (as it was introduced through alchemy) 
probably of Arabian, origin. "Popular 
etymology'* has been busy with this word, 
and Johnson copying earlier writers in his 
Dictionary derives it from the Greek antimon- 
achos (bad for monks), telling the story that 
a prior once gave some of this mineral to 
his convent pigs, who thrived upon it, and 
became very fat. He next tried it on the 
monks, who died from its effects. 

Antinomian (an ti no' mi an) (Gr. anti-nomos, 
exempt from the law). One who believes that 
Christians are not bound to observe the "law 
of God," but "may continue in sin that grace 
may abound." The term was first applied 
to John Agncola by Martin Luther, and was 
given to a sect that arose in Germany about 

Antinous (an tin' 6 us). A model of manly 
beauty. He was the page of Hadrian, the 
Roman Emperor. 

Antiquarian. A standard size of drawing 
paper measuring 53 m. by 31 in. 
Antisthenes (an tis' the nez). Founder of the 
Cynic School in Athens, born about 444 B.C., 
died about 370. He wore a ragged cloak, 
and carried a wallet and staff like a beggar. 
Socrates, whose pupil he was, wittily said he 
could "see rank pride peering through the 
holes of Antisthenes' rags." 
Antoninus (an to nl' niis). 77?tf Wall of Anto- 
ninus. A wall of regularly laid sods resting 
on a stone pavement, built by the Romans 
about 100 miles north of Hadrian's Wall, 
from Dumbarton on the Clyde to Carriden on 
the Forth, under the direction of Lollius Urbi- 
cus, governor of the province under Antoninus 
Pius, about A.D. 140. It was probably some 
14 ft. thick at the base and about the same 
height; it was fortified at frequent intervals, and 
was fronted by a deep ditch. 
Antrustions (an trus' ti onz) (O.Fr., from 
O.H.Ger. trost, trust, fidelity). The chief 
followers of the Prankish kings, who were 
specially trusty to them. 

None but the king could have antrustions. ^ 

STUBBS: Constitutional History, I, ix. 
Anubis (ami' bis). In Egyptian mythology 
similar to the Hermes of Greece, whose office 
it was to take the souls of the dead before the 
judge of the infernal regions. Anubis was 
the son of Osiris the judge, and is represented 
with a human body and jackal's head. 
Anvil. It is on the anvil, under deliberation ; 
the project is in hand. 

Anzac. Word coined in 1915 from the 
initials of Australian and New Zealand Army 
Corps. It was then applied to the area in 
Gallipoli where those troops landed. The 
word was used again in World War II. 

Anzac Day, April 25th, commemorating 
the landing of the Corps in Gallipoli in 1915. 

Anzac Pact. The agreement between Aus- 
tralia and New Zealand in 1944. 

Aonian (a 6' ni an). Poetical, pertaining to 
the Muses. The Muses, according to Greek 
mythology, dwelt in Aonia, that part of Boeotia 
which contains Mount Helicon and the Muses' 
Fountain. Milton speaks of "the Aonian 
mount'* (Paradise Lost, i, 15), and Thomson 
calls the fraternity of poets 

The Aonian hive 
Who praised are, and starve right merrily. 

Castle of Indolence, ii, 2. 

A outrance. See A L'OUTRANCE. 
Apache (a pach' i). The name of a tribe of 
North American Indians, given to or adopted 
by the hooligans and roughs of Paris ^about 
the opening of the present century (in this case 
pronounced a pash'). The use of the name 
for this purpose has a curious parallel in the 
Mohocks (q.v.) of the 17th century. 
Ape. To copy, to imitate. 

The buffoon ape, in Dryden^s The Hind and 
the Panther, means the Freethinkers. 
Next her [the bear] the buffoon ape, as atheists use, 
Mimicked all sects, and had his own to choose. 

Part i, 39. 

He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of 
his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed 

(Hamlet iv, 2). Most of the Old World 
monkeys have cheek pouches, which they use 
as receptacles for food. 

To lead apes in hell. It is an old saying 
(frequent in the Elizabethan dramatists) that 
this is the fate of old maids. Hence, ape-leader, 
an old maid. 

I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear- 
waid, and lead his apes into hell. 

SHAKESPEARE: Much Ado about Nothing, ii, 1. 
Women, dying maids, lead apes in hell. 

The London Prodigal, i, 2. 

I will rather hazard my being one of the Devil's 
Ape-leaders, than to marry while he is melancholy. 
BROME. The Jovial Crew, ii. 

To play the ape, to play practical jokes , to 
play silly tricks; to make facial imitations, like 
an ape. 

To put an ape into your hood (or cap) i.e. 
to make a fool of you. Apes were formerly 
carried on the shoulders of fools and simple- 

To say an ape's paternoster, is to chatter with 
fright or cold, like an ape. One of the books 
in Rabelais' "Library of St. Victor" is called 
"The Ape's Paternoster." 
Apelles (a pel' ez). A famous Grecian painter, 
contemporary with Alexander the Great. He 
was born at Colophon, on the coast of Asia 
Minor, and is known as the Chian painter 
The Chian painter, when he was required 
To portrait Venus m her perfect hue, 
To make his work more absolute, desired 
Of all the fairest maids to have the view. 

SPENSER: Dedicatory Sonnets, xvii 

Apemantus (ap e man 'tus). A churlish philo- 
sopher, in Timon of Athens. 
A-per-se (a per se). An A 1 ; a person or thing 
of unusual merit. "A" all alone, with, no 
one who can follow, nemo proximus aut 

Chaucer calls Cresseide "the floure and 
A-per-se of Troi and Greek." 

London, thou art of townes A-per-se. 

DUNBAR (1501). 




Apex. The topmost height, summit, or tiptop ; 
originally the pointed olive-wood spike on the 
top of the cap of a Roman flamen ; also the 
crest or spike of a helmet. 
Aphrodite (af'rodlti) (Gr. aphros, foam). 
The Greek Venus; so called because she sprang 
from the foam of the sea. 

Aphrodite's girdle. The cestus (#.v.). 
Apicius (a pis' i us) A gourmand. Marcus 
Gafaius Apicius was a Roman gourmand of 
the time of Augustus and Tiberius, whose 
income being reduced by his luxurious living 
to only ten million sesterces (about 80,000), 
put an end to his life, to avoid the misery of 
being obliged to live on plain diet. 
A-pigga-back. See PICK-A-BACK. 
Apis (a' pis). In Egyptian mythology, the bull 
of Memphis, sacred to Osiris of whose soul it 
was supposed to be the image. The sacred 
bull had to have natural spots on the forehead 
forming a triangle, and a half-moon on the 
breast It was not suffered to live more than 
twenty-five years, when it was sacrificed and 
buried with great pomp. Cambyses, King 
of Persia (529-522 B.C.), and conqueror of 
Egypt, slew the sacred bull of Memphis with 
his own hands, and is said to have become mad 
in consequence. 
Apocalyptic Number. 666 See NUMBER OF 


Apocrypha (apok'nfa) (Gr. apokrupto, hid- 
den); hence, of unknown authorship: the 
explanation given in the Preface to the 
Apocrypha in the 1539 Bible that the books are 
so called "because they were wont to be read 
not openly . - . but, as it were, in secret and 
apart" is not tenable. Those books included 
in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions of the 
Old Testament, but which, at the Reformation, 
were excluded from the Sacred Canon by the 
Protestants, mainly on the grounds that they 
were not originally written in Hebrew, and 
were not looked upon as genuine by the Jews. 
They are not printed in Protestant Bibles in 
ordinary circulation, but in the Authorized 
Version, as printed in 1611, they are given 
immediately after the Old Testament. The 
books are as follows: 

1 and 2 Esdras. Baruch, with the Epistle of Jere- 
Tobit. raiah. 

Judith. The Song of the Three Children. 

The rest of Esther. The Story of Susanna. 
Wisdom. The Idol Bel and the Dragon. 

Ecclesiasticus. 1 and 2 Maccabees. 

The New Testament also has a large number 
of apocryphal books more or less attached to 
it: these consist of later gospels and epistles, 
apocalypses, etc., as well as such recently 
discovered fragments as the Logia (sayings of 
Jesus) of the Oxyrhynchus papyrus. The best- 
known books of the New Testament apocrypha 

Protevangelium, or the Book of James. 
Gospel of Nicodemus, or the Acts of Pilate. 
The Ascent of James. 
The Acts of Paul and Thecla. 
Letters of Abgarus to Christ. 

Epistles of Paul to the Laodiceans, and to the 
Alexandrines, and the Third Epistle to the 

The Teaching of the Apostles (Didache). 
The three Books of the Shepherd of Herrnas. 

ApolHnarians (a pol in ar' i anz). An heretical 
sect founded in the middle of the 4th century 
by Apollinaris, a presbyter of Lao dicea. They 
denied that Christ had a human soul, and 
asserted that the Logos supplied its place. The 
heresy was condemned at the Council of 
Chalcedon, the fourth General Council, 451. 

Apollo (a pol' 6). In Greek and Roman myth- 
ology son of Zeus and Leto (Latona), one 
of the great gods of Olympus, typifying the sun 
in its light- and life-giving as well as in its 
destroying power; often identified with Helios, 
the sun-god. He was god of music, poetry, 
and the healing art, the latter of which he 
bestowed on his son, ^Esculapius. He is 
represented in art as the perfection of youthful 

The fire-robed goo, 
Golden Apollo. . 

SHAKESPEARE: Winter s Talc, iv, 4. 
Apollo with the plectrum strook 
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash 

Of mighty sounds rushed forth, whose music shook 
The soul with sweetness, and like an adept 
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept, 

SHELLEY: Homer's Hymn to Mercury ; Ixxxv. 

A perfect Apollo is a model of manly 
beauty, referring to the Apollo Belvedere^, v.). 

Apollo of Portugal. Luis Camoens (c. 1 524- 
1580), author of the Lusiad', f the great 
Portuguese poet, who ended his days m 

Apollo Belvedere. An ancient marble 
statue, supposed to be a Roman-Greek copy of 
a bronze votive statue set up at Delphi in 
commemoration of the repulse of an attack 
by the Gauls on the shrine of Apollo in 279 B.C. 
It represents the god holding the remains of a 
bow, or (according to some conjectures) an 
aegis, in his left Band, and is called Belvedere 
from the Belvedere Gallery of the Vatican, 
where it stands. It was discovered in 1495, 
amidst the ruins of Antium and was purchased 
by Pope Julius II. 

Apollodoros (a pol' 5 dor' us). Plato says : 
"Who would not rather be a man of sorrows 
than Apollodoros, envied by all for his 
enormous wealth, yet nourishing in his heart 
the scorpions of a guilty conscience?" (The 
Republic}. This Apollodorus was the tyrant 
of Cassandrea. He obtained the supreme 
power 379 B.C., exercised it with the utmost 
cruelty, and was put to death by Antigonos 

Apollonius of Tyre. See PERICLES. 

Apollonius of Tyana (fl. c. 4 B.C.). A 
Pythagorean philosopher. He professed to 
have powers of rnagic and it was he who 
discovered that the young Phoenician woman 
whom Memppus Lycius intended to wed was 
in fact a serpent, or lamia. This story was 
noted by Robert Burton in his Anatomy of 
Melancholy, and it forms the subject of Keats's 

Apollyon (a pol' yon). The Greek name of 
Abaddon (<?.v.), king of hell and angel of the 
bottomless pit. (Rev. ix, 1 1 .) His introduc- 
tion by Bunyan into the Pilgrim's Progress has 
made his name familiar. 



Apostle spoons 

Aposiopesis. See Quos EGO. 

Apostate, The. Julian, the Roman emperor 
(33 1-363). He was brought up as a Christian, 
but on his accession to the throne (361) he 
announced his conversion to paganism and 
proclaimed the free toleration of all religions. 
A posteriori (a pos te' ri 6r' i) (Lat. from the 
latter). An a posteriori argument is proving 
the cause from the effect. Thus, if we see a 
watch we conclude there was a watchmaker. 
Robinson Crusoe inferred there was another 
human being on the desert island, because he 
saw a human footprint in the wet sand. It is 
thus the existence and character of God are 
inferred from Hfs works. See A PRIORI. 
Apostles. In the preamble of the statutes 
instituting the Order of St. Michael, founded in 
1469 by Louis XI, the archangel is styled "my 
lord," and is created a knight. The apostles 
had been already ennobled and knighted. We 
read of "the Earl Peter," "Count Paul," 
"the Baron Stephen," and so on. Thus, in 
the introduction of a sermon upon St. 
Stephen's Day, we have these lines: 
Contes vous vueille la patron 
De St. Estieul le baron. 

The Apostles were gentlemen of bloude . . . and 
Christ . . . might, if He had esteemed of the vayne 
glorye of this world, have borne coat armour. 

The Blazon of Gentrie. 

The badges or symbols of the fourteen 
apostles (i.e. the twelve original apostles* with 
Matthias and Paul). 

Andrew, an X-shaped cross, because he was cruci- 
fied on one. 

Bartholomew, a knife, because he was flayed with 
a knife. 

James the Great, a scallop shell, a pilgrim* s staff, 
or a gourd bottle, because he is the patron saint of 
pilgrims. See SCALLOP SHELL. 

James the Less, a fuller's pole, because he was 
killed by a blow on the head with a pole, dealt him 
by Simeon the fuller. 

John, a cup with a winged serpent flying out of it, 
in allusion to the tradition about Aristodemos, 
priest of Diana, who challenged John to drink a 
cup of poison. John made the sign of a cross on 
the cup, Satan like a dragon flew from it, and John 
then drank the cup which was quite innocuous. 

Judas Iscariot, a bag, because he had the bag and 
"bare what was put therein" (John xii, 6). 
Jude, a club, because he was martyred with a club. 
Matthew, a hatchet or halberd, because he was 
slain at Nadabar with a halberd. 

Matthias, a battleaxe, because he was first stoned, 
and then beheaded with a battleaxe. 

Paul, a sword> because his head was cut off with 
a sword. The convent of La Lisla, in Spain, boasts 
of possessing the very instrument. 

Peter, a bunch of keys, because Christ gave him 
the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." A cock, 
because he went out and wept bitterly when he heard 
the cock crow (Matt, xxvi, 75). 

Philip, a long staff surmounted with a cross, because 
he suffered death by being suspended by the neck 
from a tall pillar. 

Simon, a saw, because he was sawn to death, 
according to tradition. 

Thomas, a lance, because he was pierced through 
the body, at Meliapour, with a lance. 

According to Catholic legend, seven of the 
Apostles are buried at Rome, 
ANDREW lies buried at Amain" (Naples). 
BARTHOLOMEW, at Rome, m the church of Bar- 
tholomew, on the Tiber Island. 

JAMES THE GREAT was buried at St. Jago de Com- 
postella, in Spain. 

JAMES THE LESS, at Rome, in the church of SS. 
Philip and James. 

JOHN, at Ephesus. 

JUDE, at Rome. 

MATTHEW, at Salerno (Naples). 

MATTHIAS, at Rome, under the altar of the Basilica. 

PAUL, somewhere in Italy. 

PETER, at Rome, in the church of St. Peter. 

PHILIP, at Rome. 

SIMON or SIMEON, at Rome. 

THOMAS, at Ortona (Naples). (? Madras,) 

The supposed remains of MARK THE EVANGELIST 
were buried at Venice, about 800. 

LUKE THE EVANGELIST is said to have been buried 
at Padua. 

N B Italy claims thirteen of these apostles or 
evangelists Rome seven, Naples three, Mark at 
Venice, Luke at Padua, and Paul at Rome. 


Apostles of 

Abyssinians, St. Frumentius. (Fourth century.) 

Alps, Felix Neff. (1798-1829 ) 

Andalusia, Juan de Avila. (1500-1569.) 

Ardennes, St. Hubert. (656-727 ) 

Armenians, Gregory of Armenia, "The Illumina- 
tor." (256-331.) 

Brazil, Jos6 de Anchieta, a Jesuit missionary. 

English, St. Augustine. (Died 604.) St. George. 

Free Trade, Richard Cobden. (1804-1865.) 

French, St. Denis. (Third century.) 

Frisians, St. Wilhbrod. (657-738). 

Cauls, St. Irenceus (130-200); St. Martin of Tours 

Gentiles, St. Paul. 

Germany, St. Boniface. (680-755.) 

Highlanders, St. Columba. (521-597.) 

Hungary, St. Anastatius. (954-1044.) 

Indians (American), Bartolom6 de Las Casas 
(1474-1566); John Eliot (1604-1690). 

Indies (East), St. Francis Xavier. (1506-1552.) 

Infidelity, Voltaire. (1694-1778.) 

Ireland, St. Patrick. (373-463 ) 

North, St. Ansgar or Anscarius, missionary to 
Scandinavia (180-864); Bernard Gilpin, Archdeacon 
of Durham, evangelist on the Scottish border. 

Peru, Alonzo de Barcena, a Jesuit missionary. 

Picts, St. Ninian. (Fifth century.) 

Scottish Reformers, John Knox. (1505-1572.) 

Slavs, St. Cyril, (c. 820-869.) 

Spain, St. James the Great. (Died 62.) 

The Sword, Mohammed (570-632.) 

Temperance, Father Mathew. (1790-1856.) 

Yorkshire, Paulinus, bishop of York and Rochester. 
(Died 644.) 

Wales, St. David. (Died about 601 ) 

Prince of the Apostles. St. Peter. (Matt. 
xvi, 18, 19.) 

Twelve Apostles. The last twelve names on 
the poll or list of ordinary degrees were so 
called, when the list was arranged in order of 
merit, and not alphabetically, as now; they 
were also called the Chosen Twelve. The last 
of the twelve was designated "St. Paul," from 
a play on the verse 1 Cor. xv, 9. The same 
term was later applied to the last twelve in the 
Mathematical Tripos. 

Apostle spoons. Spoons having the figure 
of one of the apostles at the top of the handle, 
formerly given at christenings. Sometimes 
twelve spoons, representing the twelve apos- 
tles; sometimes four> representing the four 
evangelists; and sometimes only one, was 
presented. Occasionally a set occurs contain- 
ing in addition the " Master Spoon " and the 
" Lady Spoon." 

Apostles' Creed 



Apostles' Creed. A Church creed supposed 
to be an epitome of doctrine taught by the 
apostles. It was received into the Latin 
Church, in its present form, in the 1 1 th century, 
but a formula somewhat like it existed in the 
2nd century. Items were added in the 4th 
and 5th centuries, and verbal alterations much 

Apostolic Fathers. Christian authors born 
in the 1st century, when the apostles lived. 
John is supposed to have died about A.D. 99, 
and Polycarp, the last of the Apostolic Fathers, 
born about 69, was his disciple. Clement of 
Rome (died about 100), Ignatius (died about 
115), Polycarp (about 69-155), St. Barnabas, to 
whom an apocryphal epistle (now usually 
assigned to the 2nd century) was ascribed by 
Clemens Alexandnnus and Origen (martyred, 
61), Hennas (author of The Shepherd of 
Hermas, and possibly identical with the 
Hermes of Rom. xvi, 14), and Papias, a bishop 
of Hierapohs, mentioned by Eusebius. 

Apostolic Majesty. A title borne by the 
emperors of Austria, as kings of Hungary. It 
was conferred by Pope Sylvester II on the King 
of Hungary in 1000. Cp. RELIGIOUS. 

Apostolic Succession. This is the term in 
use for the doctrine that the mission given to 
the apostles by Christ (John xx, 23 and Matt. 
xxviii, 19) must extend to their legitimate 
successors in an unbroken line. This means 
in practice that only those clergy who have 
been ordained by bishops who are themselves 
in the succession can administer the sacra- 
ments and perform other sacerdotal functions. 

Apparel. One meaning of this word used to be 
"ornament" or "embellishment," especially 
the embroidery on ecclesiastical vestments. In 
the 19th century it was revived, and applied 
to the ornamental parts of the alb at the lower 
edge and at the wrists. Pugin says : 

The albe should be made with apparels worked in 
silk or gold, embroidered with ornaments. Glossary 
of Ecclesiastical Ornament (1844). 

Appeal to the Country, To. To ask the nation 
to express their opinion on some moot 
question. In order to obtain such public 
opinion Parliament must be dissolved and a 
general election held. 

Appiades (ap' i a dez). Five divinities whose 
temple stood near the fountains of Appius, 
in Rome. Their names are Venus, Pallas, 
Concord, Peace, and Vesta. They were 
represented on horseback, like Amazons. 

Appian Way (ap' i an). The oldest and best 
known of all the Roman roads, leading from 
Rome to Brundisium (Brindisi) by way of 
Capua. This "queen of roads" was begun 
by Appius Claudius, the decemvir, 313 B.C. 

Apple. The well-known story of Newton and 
the Apple originated with Voltaire, who tells 
us that Mrs. Conduit, Newton's niece, told 
him that Newton was at Woolsthorpe (visiting 
his mother) in 1666, when, seeing an apple fall, 
he was led into the tram of thought which 
resulted in his establishment of the law of 
gravitation (1685). 

Apple of Discord. A cause of dispute; 
something to contend about. At the marriage 
of Thetis and Peleus, where all the gods and 
goddesses met together, Discord (Ens), who 
had not been invited, threw on the table a 
golden apple "for the most beautiful." Juno, 
Minerva, and Venus put m their separate 
claims; the point was referred to Paris (g.v ), 
who gave judgment in favour of Venus. This 
brought upon him the vengeance of Juno and 
Minerva, to whose spite the fall of Troy is 

The apple appears more than once in Greek 

There is no mention of an apple in the Bible 
story of Eve's temptation. We have no 
further particulars than that it was "the fruit 
of the tree in the midst of the garden," and 
the Mohammedans leave the matter equally 
vague, though their commentators hazard the 
guess that it may have been an ear of wheat, or 
the fruit of the vine or the fig. The apple is a 
comparatively late conjecture. 

For the story of William Tell and the apple, 
see TELL. 

Prince Ahmed's apple. In the Arabian 
Nights story of Prince Ahmed, a cure for every 
disorder. The prince purchased it at Samar- 

Apples of Istakhar are "all sweetness on one 
side, and all bitterness on the other." 

Apples of Paradise, according to tradition, 
had a bite on one side, to commemorate the 
bite given by Eve. 

Apples of perpetual youth. In Scandinavian 
mythology, the golden apples of perpetual 
youth, in the keeping of Idhunn, daughter of 
the dwarf Svald, and wife of Bragi. It is by 
tasting them that the gods preserve their 

Apples of Pyban, says Sir John Mandeville, 
fed the pigmies with their odour only. 

Apples of Sodom. Thevenot says "There 
are apple-trees on the sides of the Dead Sea 
which bear lovely fruit, but within are full of 
ashes." Josephus, Strabo, Tacitus, and others 
speak of these apples, and are probably 
referring to the gall-nuts produced by the 
insect Cynips wsana. The phrase is used 
figuratively for anything disappointing. 

You see, my lords, what goodly fruit she seerns; 

Yet like those apples travellers report 

To sow where Sodom and Gomorrah stood, 

I will but touch her, and straight you will see 

She'll fall to soot and ashes. 

WEBSTER: The White Devil. 

Apple of the eye. The pupil, because it 
was anciently supposed to be a round solid 
ball like an apple. Figuratively applied to 
anything extremely dear or extremely sensitive. 
He kept him as the apple of his eye. Deut. xxxii, 10. 

Apple-cart. To upset the apple-cart. To 
ruin carefully laid plans. To have one's 
expectations blighted, as a farmer's might be 
when his load of apples was overturned. This 
phrase is recorded as in use as early as 1796. 

Apple-jack. An apple-turnover is some- 
times so called in East Anglia. In the United 
States the name is given to a drink distilled from 
fermented apple juice like French Calvados. 


Apple-John. An apple so called from its 
being at maturity about St. John's Day (Dec. 
27th). We are told that appfe-johns will keep 
for two years, and are best when shrivelled. 
I am withered like an old apple-John. 

SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry IV, iii, 3. 

Sometimes incorrectly called the Apples of 
King John. 

Apple-pie bed. A bed in which the sheets 
are so folded that a person cannot get his legs 
down; perhaps a corruption of "a nappe-pli 
bed," from the Fr. nappe phee, a folded sheet. 
Also incorrectly used by schoolboys to describe 
a bed into which a quantity of strange objects 
have been piled to discomfit the occupant. 

Apple-pie order. Prim and precise order. 
The origin of this phrase is still doubtful. 
Perhaps the suggestion made above of nappe- 
pli (Fr. nappes phees, folded linen, neat as 
folded linen) is near the mark. 

Apple-polishing. An attempt to win favour 
by gifts or flattery. From the practice of 
American schoolchildren of bringing shiny 
apples to their teachers. 

Apple Tree Gang. The name given to John 
Reid, and his friends, from Scotland, who were 
responsible for the introduction of Golf into 
U.S.A. in 1888, at Yonkers, N.Y. The name 
was coined in 1892 when Reid and his friends 
moved to their 3rd " course " at Yonkers a 
34-acre orchard which yielded six holes. 

Apres moi le deluge. After me the deluge I 
care Jtot what happens after I am dead and 
gone. It is recorded that Madame de 
Pompadour (1721-64) mistress of Louis XV 
said, Apres nous le deluge, when remonstrated 
with on account of the extravagances of the 
Court. It is probable that she had heard the 
phrase on the lips of her royal lover. Metter- 
nich, the Austrian statesman (1773-1859) also 
used the expression, but his meaning was that 
when his guiding hand was removed, things 
would probably go to rack and ruin. 

April. The month when trees unfold and the 
womb of Nature opens with young life. (Lat. 
aperire, to open.) 

The old Dutch name was Gtas-maand 
(grass-month); the old Saxon, Easter-monath 
(orient or pascal-month). In the French 
Republican calendar it was called Germinal 
(the time of budding, March 21st to April 19th). 

April fool. Called in France tm poisson 
d'Awil Gy.v.), and in Scotland a gowk (cuckoo). 
In Hindustan similar tricks are played at the 
Huli Festival (March 31st). So that it cannot 
refer to the uncertainty of the weather, nor yet 
to a mockery of the trial of our Redeemer, the 
two most popular explanations. A better 
solution is this: As March 25th used to be 
New Year's Day, April 1st was its octave, 
when its festivities culminated and ended. 

It may be a relic of the Roman "Cerealia," 
held at the beginning of April. The tale is 
that Proserpina was sporting in the Elysian 
meadows, and had just filled her lap with 
daffodils, when Pluto carried her off to the 
lower world. Her mother, Ceres, heard the 
echo of her screams, and went in search of 
"the voice"; but her search was a fool's 

43 Aquiline 

errand, it was hunting the gowk, or looking for 
the "echo of a scream." 

A priori (a pri or 'i) (Lat. from an ante- 
cedent). An a priori argument is one in which 
a fact is deduced from something antecedent, 
as when we infer certain effects from given 
causes. All mathematical proofs are of the 
a priori kind," whereas judgments m the law 
courts are usually a posteriori (<?.v.); we infer 
the animus from the act. 

Apron (O.Fr. napperori). Originally napron in 
English, this word is representative of a 
considerable number that have either lost or 
gained an *'n" through coalescence or the 
reverse with the article "a" or "an." A 
napron became an apron. Other examples are 
adder for a nadder, auger for a nauger, and 
umpire for a numpire. The opposite coales- 
cence may be seen in newt for an ewt, nickname 
for an ekename, and the old nuncle for mine 
uncle. Cp. NONCE. 

A bishop's apron represents the short 
cassock which, by the 74th canon, all clergy- 
men were enjoined to wear. 

A kilt-apron is a brown linen washable 
apron with a pocket in front in lieu of a sporran, 
worn with the kilt by Scottish troops in battle 
or when they have dirty work to do. 

Apron-string tenure. A tenure held in virtue 
of one's wife. Tied to his mother's apron- 
string. Completely under his mother's thumb. 
Applied to a big boy or young man who is still 
under mother rule. 

Aqua Regia (ak' wa re' ja) (Lat. royal water). 
A mixture of one part of nitric acid, with from 
two to four of hydrochloric acid; so called 
because it dissolves gold, the king of metals. 

Aqua Tofana (ak' wa tof a na). A poison- 
ous liquid containing arsenic, much used in 
Italy in the 18th century by young wives who 
wanted to get rid of their husbands. It was 
invented about 1690 by a Greek woman named 
Tofana, who called it the Manna of St. 
Nicholas of Bari, from the widespread notion 
that an oil of miraculous efficacy flowed from 
the tomb of that saint. 

Aqua vita (ak' wa vl' te) (Lat. water of life). 
Bransy; any spintous liquor; also, formerly, 
certain ardent spirits used by the alchemists. 
Ben Jonson terms a seller of such an "acqua- 
vitse man" (Alchemist., i. 1). The "elixir of 
life " (#.v.) was made from these spirits. See 

Aquarius (a kwar' i us) (Lat. the water-bearer). 
The eleventh of the twelve zodiacal constel- 
lations, representing the figure of a man with 
his left hand raised and with his right pouring 
from a ewer a stream of water; it is the eleventh 
division of the ecliptic, which the sun enters on 
January 21st, though this does not now 
coincide with the constellation. 

Aquila non captat muscas (ak' wi la non 
cap' tat mus' kas). A Latin phrase, "An 
eagle does not hawk at flies," a proverbial 
saying implying that little things are beneath a 
great man's contempt. 

Aquiline. Raymond's matchless steed. See 

Aquinian Sage 



Aquiman Sage, The, Juvenal is so called 
because he was born at Aquinum, a town of 
the Volscians. 

Arabesque. An adjective and noun applied to 
the Arabian and Moorish style of decoration 
and architecture. One of its chief features is 
that no representation of animal forms is 
admitted. During the Spanish wars in the 
reign of Louis XIV, arabesque decorations 
were profusely introduced into France. 

Arabia. It was Ptolemy who was the author 
of the threefold division into Arabia Petraea, 
"Sfony Arabia"; Arabia Felix (Yemen), 
''Fertile Arabia," i.e. the south-west coast; 
and Arabia Deserta, "Desert Arabia." 

Arabian Bird, The. The phoenix; hence, 
figuratively, a marvellous or unique person. 
All of her that is out of door most rich! 
If she be furaish'd with a mind so rare, 
She is alone the Arabian bird. 

SHAKESPEARE: Cymbeline, i, 6. 
Arabian Nights Entertainments, The. A 
collection of ancient Oriental tales, first 
collected in its present form about 1450, 
probably in Cairo. The first European 
translation was the French one by Antoine 
Gallarid (12 vols., 1704-8), which is a free 
rendering of the oldest known MS. (1548), 
There are English translations founded on this 
by R. Heron (4 vols,, 1792), W. Beloe (4 vols., 
1795), and others. In 1840 E. W. Lane 
published an entirely new translation (3 vols.) 
made from the latest Arabic edition (Cairo 
3835); John Payne's translation appeared in 
4 vols., 1882-4. Sir Richard Burton's literal 
translation was the first unexpurgated edition, 
and is enriched by a great number of exhaustive 
nates, on Oriental manners and customs. It 
was issued by the Kamashastra Society of 
Benares, in 10 vols., 1885-6, followed by 6 vols. 
of Supplemental Nights in 1886-8. The 
standard French translation is that by J. C. 
Mardrus, 16 vols., 1899-1904, which has been 
severely criticized by Arabic scholars. 

Arabians. A name given to the early 
Nestorians and Jacobites in Arabia; also to an 
heretical Arabian sect of the 3rd century, which 
maintained that the soul dies with the body; 
and to a sect which believed that the soul died 
and rose again with the body. 

Arabic figures. The figures 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. 
So called because they were introduced into 
Europe (Spain) by the Moors or Arabs (about 
the end of the 10th century), who brought them 
from India about 250 years earlier. They were 
not generally adopted in Europe till after the 
invention of printing. Far more important 
than the characters, is the decimalism of these 
figures: I figure = units, 2 figures = tens, 3 
figures = hundreds, and so on ad infinitum. 

The figures i, ii, rii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x, etc., 
are called Roman- figures. 

Street Arabs. Children of the houseless 
poor; street children. So called because, like 
the Arabs, they are nomads or wanderers with 
no settled home. 

Arachne's Labours (arak'ni). In Greek 
legend Arachne was so skilful a spinner thai 
she challenged Minerva to a trial of skill, and 

hanged herself because the goddess beat her. 
Minerva then changed her into a spider. 
Hence arachnida, the scientific name for 
spiders, scorpions, and mites. 
Aram, Eugene (ar' am) (1704-59). This mur- 
derer was a man of considerable learning, who, 
while a schoolmaster at Knaresborough, 
became involved with a man named Clark in 
a series of frauds. In 1 745 he murdered Clark, 
but the crime was not discovered until 1758, 
when Clark's skeleton was found. Aram was 
arrested while teaching in a school at King's 
Lynn, tried and executed, 6 August, 1759. He 
was said to be a proficient scholar in Latin, 
Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, French, and Welsh. 
His story forms the theme of Lytton's novel 
Eugene Aram. 

Aratus (ara'tus). A Greek statesman and 
general (271-213 B.C.), famous for his patriot- 
ism and devotion to freedom. He liberated 
his native Sicyon from the usurper Nicocles, 
and would not allow even a picture of a king 
to exist. He was poisoned by Philip of 

Aratus, who awhile relumed the soul 
Of fondly-lingering liberty zn Greece. 

THOMSON. Winter, 491, 492. 

Arbor Day. A day set apart in Canada and 
the United States for planting trees. It was 
first inaugurated about 1885 in Nebraska. 
Arbor Judae. See JUDAS TREE. 

Arcadia (ar ka' di a). A district of the Pelo- 
ponnesus which, according to Virgil, was the 
home of pastoral simplicity and happiness. 
The name was taken by Sidney as the title of 
his romance (1590), and it was soon generally 
adopted in English. 

Arcadian beasts. An old expression, to be 
found in Plautus, Pliny, etc. See Persius > 
iii, 9: 

Arcadiae pecuaria rudere credas 

and Rabelais, V, vii. So called because the 
ancient Arcadians were renowned as simple- 
tons. Juvenal (vii, 160) has arcadicus juvems, 
meaning a stupid youth. 

Arcades ambo (ar' ka dez am' bo) (Lat.), 
From Virgil's seventh Eclogue: "Ambo fior- 
entes cetatibus, Arcades ambo" (Both in the 
flower of youth, Arcadians both), meaning 
" both poets or musicians," now extended to 
two persons having tastes or habits in common. 
Byron gave the phrase a whimsical turn: 
Each pulled different ways with many an oath, 
" Arcades ambo " idest, blackguards both. 

Don Juan, IV, xciii. 
Areas. See CALISTO. 

Archangel. In Christian legend, the title is 
usually given to Michael, the chief opponent of 
Satan and his angels and the champion of the 
Church of Christ on earth. In the medieval 
hierarchy (see ANGEL) the Archangels comprise 
an order of the third division. 

According to the Koran, there are four 
archangels: Gabriel, the angel of revelations, 
who writes down the divine decrees; Michael, 
the champion, who fights the battles of faith: 
Azrael, the angel of death; and Israfel, who is 
commissioned to sound the trumpet of the 


Archers. The best archers in British history 

and story are Robin Hood and his two com- 
rades jLittle John and Will Scarlet. 

The famous archers of Henry II were Tep,us 

his bowman of the Guards, Gilbert of the 

white hind, Hubert of Suffolk, and Clifton of 

Nearly equal to these were Egbert of Kent 

and William of Southampton. See also CLYM 

Domitian, the Roman emperor, we are told, 

could shoot four arrows between the spread 

fingers of a man's hand. 
Tell, who shot an apple set on the head of 

his son, is a replica of the Scandinavian tale of 

Egi'I, who, at the command of King Nidung, 

performed a precisely similar feat. 

Robin Hood, we are told, could shoot an 

arrow a mile or more. 

Arches, Court of. The ecclesiastical court of 
appeal for the province of Canterbury, which 

was anciently held in the church of St. Mary- 
le-Bow (S. Maria de Arcubus), Cheapside, 

Ardieus (ar ke' us). The immaterial principle 
which, according to the Paracelsians, energizes 
all living substances. There were supposed to 
be numerous archei^ but the chief one was said 
to reside in the stomach. 
Archies. This was the name given in World 
War I to anti-aircraft guns and batteries 
probably from Archibald, the eponymous 
hero of one of George Robey's songs. 
Archilochian Bitterness (ar ki lo' ki an). Ill- 
natured satire, so named from Archilochus, 
the Greek satirist (fl. 690 B.C.). 
Archimago (arkima'go). The enchanter in 
Spenser's Faerie Queene (Bks. I and II), 
typifying hypocrisy and false religion. 
Archimedean Principle (ar ki me' di an). The 
quantity of water displaced by any body 
immersed therein will equal in bulk the bulk 
of the body immersed. This scientific fact was 
noted by the philosopher Archimedes of 
Syracuse (c. 287-212 B.C.). See EUREKA. 

Archimedean screw. An endless screw, 
used for raising water, etc., invented by 

Architecture, Orders of. These five are the 
classic orders: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corin- 
thian, and Composite. 

In ancient times the following was the usual 

CORINTHIAN, for temples of Venus, Flora, 
Proserpine, and the Water Nymphs. 

DORIC, for temples of Minerva, Mars, and 

IONIC, for temples of Juno, Diana, and 

TUSCAN, for grottoes and all rural deities. 
Archon. In ancient Greece the archon was a 
chief magistrate; in the 2nd century a sect of 
the Gnostics, known as Archontics, applied the 
word as a subordinate power (analogous, 
perhaps, to the angels), who, at the bidding of 
G,od, made the world. 

Arcite (ar si' ti, ar/ sit). A young Theban 
knight, made captive by Duke Theseus, and 
imprisoned with Palamon at Athens. Both 

45 Areopagus 

captives fell in love with Emily, the duke's 
sister, sister-in-law, or daughter <according to 
different versions), and after they had gained 
their liberty Emily was promised by the duke 
to the victor in a tournament. Arcite won, 
but, as he was riding to receive the prize, he was 
thrown from his horse and killed. Emily be- 
came the bride of Palamon. The story has 
been told many times and in many versions, 
notably by Boccaccio, Chaucer (Knighfs Tale), 
Dryden, and Fletcher (Two Noble Kinsmen). 

Arcos Barbs. War steeds of Arcos, in 
Andalusia, very famous in Spanish ballads. 
See BARB. 

Arctic Region means the region of Arcturos 
(the Bear stars), from Gr. arktos, meaning both 
the animal and the constellation, and arktikos, 
pertaining to the bear, hence, northern. 
Arcturus (the bear-ward) is the name now given 
to the brightest star in Bootes that can be 
readily found by following the curve of the 
Great Bear's tail; but in Job xxxviii, 32, it 
means the Great Bear itself. 

Arden, The Forest of. This was once a large 
tract of forest land in Warwickshire, to the 
north of the Avon. Shakespeare was well 
acquainted with the forest and laid the rural 
scenes of As You Like It among its glades. 

Arden, Enoch. The story in Tennyson's 
poem of this name, first published in 1&64 (of 
a husband who mysteriously and unwillingly 
disappears, and returns years later to find that 
his wife who still loves his memory is 
married to another), was, he says 
founded on a theme given me by the sculptor 
Woolner. I believe that his particular story came 
out of Suffolk, but something like the same stay is 
told in Brittany and elsewhere. 

It is not uncommon, either in fact or fiction. 
Tennyson said that several similar true stories 
had been sent to him since its publication, and 
four years before it appeared Adelaide Anne 
Procter's Homeward Bound, to which Enoch 
Arden bears a strong resemblance, was 
published in her Legends and Lyrics (1-858). 
Mrs. Gaskell's Manchester Marriage has a 
similar plot. 

Arden of Feversham. This tragedy, first 
printed in 1592, was at one time attributed to 
Shakespeare; it is possibly the work of Thomas 
Kyd (c. 1551 -c. 1395). The story is of Alice 
Arden, whose love for her base paramour 
Mosbie leads her to plan the murder of her 
husband. This is carried out while he and 
Mosbie are playing a game of draughts; on 
Mosbie giving the signal by saying, 4C Now I 
take you," a couple of hired ruffians dash in 
and murder Arden. 

In 1736 George Lillo wrote a play on this 
theme, which was not acted until 1759. This, 
again, being altered, the revised play was put 
on the stage in 1790. 

Areopagus (ar^ op' a gus) (Gr. the hill of Mars, 
or Ares). The seat of a famous tribunal in 
Athens; so called from the tradition that the 
first cause tried there was that of Mars or 
Ares, accused by Neptune of the death of his 
son Halirrhothius. 

Then Paul stood hi the midst of Mars' Hill. Acts 
xvii, 22. 




Ares (ar'ez). The god of war in Greek 
mytholpgy, son of Zeus and Hera. In certain 
aspects he corresponds with the Roman Mars. 

Aretinian Syllables. Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, used 
by Guido d'Arezzo in the llth century for his 
hexachord, or scale of six notes. They are the 
first syllables of some words in the opening 
stanza of a hymn for St. John's Day (see DOH). 
Si, the seventh note, was not introduced till 
the "17th century. 

Argan (ar'gon). The principal character in 
Moliere's Malade Imaginaire, a hypochondriac 
uncertain whether lo think more of his ailments 
or of his purse. 

Argand Lamp. A lamp with a circular wick, 
through which a current of air flows, to supply 
oxygen to the flame, and increase its brilliancy. 
Invented by Aime Argand, 1789. 

Argenis (ar'jenis). A political allegory by 
John Barclay, written originally in Latin and 
published in 1621. It is apparently a romance 
of gallantry and heroism, and it contains 
double meanings throughout. "Sicily" is 
France. "Poliarchus" (with whom Argenis is 
in love), Henry IV, " Hyanisbe," Queen 
Elizabeth, and so on. It deals with the state 
of Europe, and more especially of France, 
during the time of the league. 

Argentine, Argentina (ar' jen tin, ar jen te' na). 
The name of this great S. American republic 
means The Silver Republic and is akin to that 
of its principal river, Rio de la Plata, turned 
into English as the River Plate. Buenos Aires, 
the capital city, was founded in 1535, and direct 
Spanish rule lasted until 18-16, when a republic 
was declared. Spanish-American politics do 
not lend themselves to a concise summary; 
suffice it to say that Argentina is now one of 
the richest and most powerful states on the 
S. American continent. 

Argo (Gr. argos, swift). The galley of Jason 
that went in search of the Golden Fleece. 
The wondred Argo, which in venturous peece, 
First^through the Euxine seas bore all the flower of 

Greece. SPENSER . FaeHe Queene ^ n , x ii, 44. 
The story is told by Apollonius of Rhodes. 
Hence, a ship sailing on any specially adven- 
turous voyage, and figuratively. 

Such an Argo, when freighted with such a fleece, 
will unquestionably be held in chase by many a 

pira e * BROOKE: Fool of Quality. 

Argonauts. The sailors of the ship Argo, 
who sailed from Greece to Colchis in quest of 
the Golden Fleece. The name is also given 
to the paper-nautilus, a cephalopod mollusc. 
Argosy. Originally a merchant ship built at, 
or sailing from, Ragusa in Dalmatia. The 
word is particularly interesting as an early 
example of the adaptation of a place-name to 
ordinary use; it was frequent in the 16th- 
century English. 

He hath an argosy bound to Tripoli's, another to 
the Indies ... a third to Mexico, a fourth to 

ngJan . S HAKESPEARE . Merchant of Venice, i, 3. 
Argot (ar' go). Slang or flash language. The 
word is French, and was formerly used only for 
the canting jargon of thieves, rogues, and 

Argus-eyed. Jealously watchful. According 
to Grecian fable, the fabulous creature, Argus, 
had 100 eyes, and Juno set him to watch lo, 
of whom she was jealous. Mercury, however, 
charmed Argus to sleep and slew him; where- 
upon Juno changed him into a peacock with 
the eyes in the tail (cp. PEACOCK'S FEATHER). 
Hence the name Argus for a genus of Asiatic 

Return to your charge, be Argus-eyed, 
Awake to the affair you have in hand. 

BEN JONSON: Staple of News, III, ii. 
So praysen babes the Peacocks spotted traine, 
And wondren at bright Argus blazing eye 

SPENSER: Shepherd's Calendar, October. 
Argyle (ar gu"), of whom Thomson says, in his 
Autumn (928-30) 

On thee, Argyle, 

Her hope, her stay, her darling, and her boast, 
Thy fond, imploring country turns her eye - 

was John, the great duke, who lived only two 
years after he succeeded to the dukedom. 
Pope (Ep. Sat. ii, 86, 87) says 
Argyle the state's whole thunder born to wield, 
And shake alike the senate and the field. 

"God bless the Duke of Argyle." is a 
phrase, supposed to be ejaculated by High- 
landers when they scratched themselves. The 
story is that a Duke of Argyle caused posts to 
be erected in a treeless portion of his estates 
so that his cattle might have the opportunity of 
rubbing themselves against them and so easing 
themselves of the "torment of flies." It was 
not long before the herdsmen discovered the 
efficacy of the practice, and as they rubbed their 
itching backs against the posts they thankfully 
muttered the above words. 

Ariadne (3. ri ad' ni). In Greek mythology, 
daughter of the Cretan king, Minos. She 
helped Theseus to escape from the labyrinth, 
and later went with him to Naxos, where he 
deserted her and she became the wife of 

Arians (ar/ i anz). The followers of Arius, a 
presbyter of the Church of Alexandria, in the 
4th century. He maintained (1) that the 
Father and Son are distinct beings; (2) that the 
Son, though divine, is not equal to the Father; 
(3) that the Son had a state of existence 

Erevious to His appearance on earth, but not 
rom eternity; and (4) that the Messiah was not 
real man, but a divine being in a case of flesh. 
Their tenets varied from time to time and also 
among their different sections. The heresy 
was formally anathematized at the Council of 
Nicaea (325), but the sect was not, and never 
has been, wholly extinguished. 

Ariel (ar'iel). The name of a spirit. Used in 
cabalistic angelology, and in Heywood's 
Hierarchic of the Blessed Angels (1635) for one 
of the seven angelic "princes" who rule the 
waters; by Milton for one of the rebel angels 
(Paradise Lost, vi, 371); by Pope (Rape of the 
Lock} for a sylph, the guardian of Belinda; but 
especially by Shakespeare, in the Tempest, for 

an ayne spirit." 

He was enslaved to the witch Sycorax, who 
overtasked him; and in punishment for not 
doing what was beyond his power, shut him 
up in a pine-rift for twelve years. On the 
death of Sycorax, Ariel became the slave of 


Caliban, who tortured him most cruelly. 
Prospero liberated him from the pine-rift, and 
the grateful fairy served him for sixteen years, 
when he was set free. 

Aries (ar' ez). The Ram. The sign of the 
Zodiac in which the sun is from March 21st 
to April 20th ; the first portion of the ecliptic, 
between and 30 longitude. 

At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun. 
THOMSON: Spring , 20. 

The first point of Aries is the spot in the 
celestial equator occupied by the sun at the 
spring equinox. It is in celestial mensuration 
what the meridian of Greenwich is in terres- 

Arimanes (a ri ma' nez). The same as Ahri- 
man (<?.v.). In Manfred Byron introduces him 
under this name, seated " on a Globe of Fire, 
surrounded by the Spirits." 

Arimaspians (ar im as' pi anz). A one-eyed 
people of Scythia (spoken of in Lucan's 
Pharsalia, iii, 280, by Pliny, Herodotus, and 
others), who adorned their hair with gold. 
They were constantly at war with the gryphons 
who guarded the gold mines. 

As when a gryphon, through the wilderness . . , 
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 
Had from his wakeful custody purloined 
The guarded gold. 

MILTON: Paradise Lost, ii, 943. 

Rabelais (IV, Ivi, and V, xxix) uses the name 
for the peoples of Northern Europe who had 
accepted the Reformation, the suggestion being 
that they had lost one eye that of faith. 

Arioch (ar' i ok). In Paradise Lost (vi, 371) 
one of the fallen angels. The word means a 
fierce lion; Milton took it from Dan. ii, 14, 
where it is the name of a man. 

Anon (a ri' on). A Greek poet and musician 
who flourished about 700 B.C., and who, 
according to legend, was cast into the sea by 
mariners, but carried to Taenaros on the back 
of a dolphin. 

Ariosto of the North (ar i os' to). So Byron 
called Sir Walter Scott. (Childe Harold, iv, 

Aristides (a ris' ti dez). An Athenian states- 
man and general, who died about 468 B.C., 
and was surnamed "The Just.'* He was 
present at the battles of Marathon and Salamis, 
and was in command at Plataea. 
Then Aristides lifts his honest front, 
Spotless of heart; to whom the unflattering voice 
Of Freedom gave the noblest name of " Just." 
THOMSON: Winter, 459. 

"The British Aristides" was Andrew 
Marvell, the poet and satirist (1621-78). 
"The French Aristides" was Francois Paul 
Jules Grevy, president of the Third Republic 
from 1879 till he was compelled to resign in 
1887 in consequence of a scandal connected 
with the sale of offices and honours. 
Aristippus (a ris tip' pus). A Greek philosopher 
(fl. 375 B.C.), pupil of Socrates, and founder of 
the Cyrenaic school of hedonists. See 

Aristocracy (Gr. aristo-cratia, rule of the best 
born). Originally, the government of a state 

47 Arm 

by its best citizens. Carlyle uses the term in 
this sense in his Latter-day Pamphlets (iii, 41): 
"The attainment of a truer and truer Aristo- 
cracy, or Government again by the Best." 
The word is to-day generally applied to the 
patrician order, or to a class that is, or claims 
to be, specially privileged by reason of birth or 

Aristophanes (ar is tor a nez). The greatest of 
the Greek comic dramatists. He was born 
about 450 B.C. and died about 380 B.C., and 
is specially notable as a satirist. 

The English or modern Aristophanes. 
Samuel Foote (1720-77). 

The French Aristophanes, Moliere (1622- 

Aristotle (ar' is totl). One of the greatest of 
the Greek philosophers, pupil of Plato, and 
founder of the Peripatetic School. See 

Aristotelian philosophy (ar is tot e' Ii an). 
Aristotle maintained that four separate causes 
are necessary before anything exists: the 
material cause, the formal, the final, and the 
moving cause. The first is the antecedents 
from which the thing comes into existence; the 
second, that which gives it its individuality; 
the moving or efficient cause is that which 
causes matter to assume its individual forms; 
and the final cause is that for which the thing 
exists. According to Aristotle, matter is 

Aristotelian Unities. See DRAMATIC UNITIES. 
Ann, Arms. This word, with the meaning of 
the limb, has given rise to a good many 
common phrases, such as : 

Arm in arm. Walking in a friendly way with 
arms linked. 

Arm of the sea. A narrow inlet. 

Secular arm. Civil, in centra-distinction to 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 

The relapsed are delivered to the secular arm. 
PRIESTLEY: Corruptions of Christianity. 

To chance your arm. See CHANCE. 

At arm's length. At a good distance ; hence, 
with avoidance of familiarity, 

Infant in arms. One that cannot yet walk 
and so has to be carried, but a nation in arras 
is one in which all the people are prepared for 

With open arms. Cordially; as persons 
receive a dear friend when they open their arms 
for an embrace. 

The word "arm" is almost always plural 
nowadays when denoting implements or 
accoutrements for fighting, etc., and also in 
heraldic usage. Among common phrases 

A passage of arms, A literary controversy; 
a battle of words. 

An assault at arms (or of arms) . A hand-to- 
hand military exercise. 

Small arms. Those which do not, like 
artillery, require carriages. 

To appeal to arms. To determine to decide 
a litigation by war. 



To arms* Make ready for battle. 
*'To arms! " cried Mortimer, 
And couched his quivering lance. 

GRAY: The Bard. 

To lay down arms. To cease from armed 
hostility; to surrender. 

Under arms. Prepared for battle; in battle 

Up in arms. In open rebellion ; figuratively, 
roused to anger. 

King of Arms. See HERALDS. 

The right to bear arms. The right to use an 
heraldic device, which can be obtained only by 
direct grant from the College of Heralds (and 
the payment of certain fees), or by patrimony, 
i.e. direct descent from one on whom the grant 
has been conferred. In either case a small 
annual licence must be paid if the coat of arms 
is used in any way, such as on one's carnage, 
silver, or stationery. A person having such 
right is said to be armigerous. 

The Royal Arms of England. The three lions 
passant gardant were introduced by Richard 
Cceur de Lion after his return from the third 
Crusade; the lion rampant in the second 
quarter is from the arms of Scotland, it having 
first been used in the reign of Alexander H 
(1214-49); and the harp in the fourth quarter 
represents Ireland; it was assigned to Ireland 
in the time of Henry VIII; before that time her 
device was three crowns. The lion supporter 
is English, and the Bnicorn Scottish; they were 
introduced by James I. The crest, a lion 
statant gardant first appears on the Great Seal 
of Edward III. 

The correct emblazoning of the arms of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 

Quarterly, first and fourth gules, three Kens pas- 
sant gardant in pale, or, for England; second or, 
a lion rampant with a double treasure flory-counter- 
flory gules, for Scotland; third azure, a haip or, 
stringed argent, for Iceland,; all surrounded by the 
Garter. Crest. Upon the royal helmet, the imperial 
crown proper, thereon a lion statant gardant or, 
imperial crowned proper. Supporters.- A Ken 
rampant gardant, or, crowned as the crest. Sinister, 
a unicorn argent, armed, crined, and unguled proper, 
gorged with a coronet composed of crosses patee- 
and fietir de lis, a chain affixed thereto passing between 
the forelegs, and reflexed over the back, also or. 
Motto. '* Dieu et mon Droit ** in the compartment 
below, the shield, with the Union rose, shamrock, 
and thistle engrafted on the same stem. 

From the time of Edward HI (1340) until the 
Union of Great Britain and Ireland (1800) the 
reigning sovereigns styled themselves "of 
Great Britain, France and Ireland, King," 
(Elizabeth said that if the Salic Law forbade 
her to be Queen of France she would e'en be 
King) and the fleur de lys of France was 
quartered with the arms of England and Scot- 
land. The empty title was abandoned as from 
I January, 1801 and from that date and for that 
reason all diplomatic correspondence thence- 
forward was carried on in English instead of 

Nor has this been the only change in the 
Royal Arms. On the accession of George I 
(1714) the White Horse of Hanover was borne 
in pretence (i.e. superimposed in the centre of 

the royal coat of arms). On the death of 
William IV (1837) the Salic Law prohibited the 
accession of Victoria to the throne of Hanover, 
and on her uncle the Duke of Cumberland 
succeeding to that throne, the Hanoverian arms 
were dropped from the British royal arms. 

Armada (arma'da). Originally Spanish for 
" army," the word is now used, from the 
Spanish Armada, for any fleet of large size or 
strength. Formerly spelt armada. 
At length resolv'd t'assert the wat'ry ball, 
He [Charles II] m himself did whole Armadoes bring; 
Him aged seamen might their master call, 
And choose for general, were he not their king, 

DRYDEN: Annas Mirabihs, xiv. 

The Spanish Armada. The fleet assembled 
by Philip II of Spain, in 1588, for the conquest 
of England. It consisted of 129 vessels, 
carried 8,000 sailors, 19,000 soldiers, 2,OOO 
guns and provisions to feed 40,000- men for 
six months. After battle and storm no more 
than 54 vessels got back to Spain, carrying a 
few sick and exhausted men. 

Armageddon (ar ma ged' on) . The name given 
in the Apocalypse (Rev. xvi, 16) to the site of 
the last great battle that is to be between the 
nations before the Day of Judgment; hence, 
any great battle or scene of slaughter. 

The place the author of the Apocalypse had 
in mind was probably the mountainous district 
near Megiddo, generally identified with the 
modern Lejjun, about 54 miles due north of 

Arme Blanche (arm blonsh) (Fr. white arm). 
Steel weapons the sword, sabre, bayonet, or 
spear in contradistinction to firearms. 

Armenian Church, The. Said to have been 
founded in Armenia by St. Bartholomew. Its 
members are to be found in Armenia, Persia, 
Syria, Poland, Asia Minor, etc.; they attribute 
only one nature to Christ and hold that the 
Spirit proceeds from the Father only, enjoin 
the adoration of saints, have some peculiar 
ways of administering baptism and the Lord's 
Supper, and communicate infants; they do not 
maintain the doctrine of purgatory. 

Armida (arme'da). In Tasso's Jerusalem 
Delivered a beautiful sorceress, with whom 
Rinaldo fell in love, and wasted his time in 
voluptuous pleasure. After his escape from 
her, Armida followed him, but not being able 
to allure him back, set fire to her palace,, 
rushed into a combat, and was slain. 

In 1806, Frederick William of Prussia 
declared war against Napoleon, and his young 
queen rode about in military costume to arouse 
the enthusiasm of the people. When Napoleon 
was told of it, he said, "She is Armida, in 
her distraction setting fire to her own palace.'" 

Arminians. Followers of Jacobus Harraensen, 
or Arminius (1560-1609), a Protestant divine 
in Leyden. They were an offshoot of Calvin- 
ism, and formulated their creed (called the 
Remonstrance] in 1610, in five points. They 
asserted ^ that God bestows forgiveness and 
eternal life on all who repent and believe; that 
He wills all men to be saved; and that His 
predestination is founded on His fore- 

Armistice Day 



Armistice Day. Hostilities in World War I 
ended at 11 o'clock on November llth, 1918, 
when an armistice was signed. In subsequent 
years November llth was kept as Armistice 
Day, marked by a two-minute silence and 
cessation of work at 11 a.m., followed in 
various places by ceremonies. In 1946 the old 
name was changed to Remembrance Day, to 
include a memorial of the close of the 1939-45 
war and it is kept on the Sunday nearest llth 

Armoury. Heraldry is so called, because it 
first found its special use in direct connexion 
with military equipments, knightly exercises,, 
and the melee of actual battle. 

Armory is an Art rightly prescribing the true 
knowledge and use of Armes. 

Gmllitn's Display of Heraldrie (1610). 

Armour, Coat, or a Coat of Arms, was 

originally a drapery of silk or other rich stuff 
worn by a knight over his armour and em- 
broidered in colours with his distinguishing 
device. This practice was adopted by the 
Crusaders, who found it necessary to cover 
their steel armour from the rays of the sun. 

Armoury. The place where armour and 
arms are kept. 

The sword 

Of Michael from the armoury of God 
Was given him. 

MILTON: Paradise Lost, vi, 320. 

The word may also mean armour collectively, 

as in Paradise Lost, iv, 553 : 

nigh at hand 

Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, 
Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold. 

Arnauts (ar' nauts) (Turk, brave men). Alba- 
nian mountaineers. 

Stained with the best of Arnaut's blood. 

BYRON: The Giaour. 

Arod. In Dry den's Absalom and Achitophel is 
designed for Sir William Waller. 
But in the sacred annals of our plot 
Industrious Arod never be forgot, 
The labours of this midnight magistrate 
May vie with Corah's [Titus Gates] to preserve 
the state. 

Part ii. 

Aroint thee. A phrase that first appears in 
Shakespeare's Macbeth (I, iii, 6) and King Lear 
(III, iv, 129), on both occasions in connexion 
with witches. It signifies "get ye gone," "be 
off"; and its origin js unknown. The 
Brownings made a verb of it, Mrs. Browning 
in her To Flush "Whiskered cats arointed 
flee," and Browning in The Two Poets of 
Ci oisic, and elsewhere. 

Arondight (ar'ondlt). The sword of Sir 
Launeelot of the Lake. See SWORD. 
Arras (ar' as). Tapestry; the cloth of Arras, 
in Artois, formerly famed for its manufacture. 
When rooms were hung with tapestry it was 
easy for persons to hide behind it; thus Hubert 
hid the two villains who were to put out 
Arthur's eyes, Polonius was slain by Hamlet 
while concealed behind the arras, Falstaff 
proposed to bide behind it at Windsor, etc. 
Arria <ar' i a). The wife of Caecina Paetus, 
who, being accused of conspiring against the 
Emperor Claudius, was condemned to death by 
suicide. As he hesitated to carry out the 

sentence Arria stabbed herself, then presenting 
the dagger to her husband, said; * { Paetus, it 
gives no pain" (non dolef). (A.D. 42). See 
PLINY, vii. 

Arriere ban. See BAN. 

Arriere pensee (Fr. "behind-thought"). A 
hidden or reserved motive, not apparent on the 


Artaxerxes (ar taks erks' ez), called by the 
Persians Artakhshathra, and surnarned the 
long-handed (Longimanus), because his right 
hand was longer than his left, was the first 
Persian king of that name, and reigned from 
465 to 425 B.C. He was the son of Xerxes, 
and is mentioned in the Bible in connexion 
with the part he played in the restoration of 
Jerusalem after the Captivity. See Ezra iv, vi, 
and vii, and Neh. ii, v, and xiii. 

Artegal, or Arthegal, Sir (ar' te gal). The hero 
of Bk. v of Spenser's Faerie Queene, lover of 
Bntomart, to whom he is made known by 
means of a magic mirror. He is emblematic of 
Justice, and in many of his deeds, such as the 
rescue of Irena (Ireland) from Grantorto, is 
typical of Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, who 
went to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant in 1580 
with Spenser as his secretary. See BtlDURE, 

Artemis. See DIANA. 

Artemus Ward. This was the pseudonym of 
Charles Farrar Browne (1834-67), the Ameri- 
can humourist. He began as a lecturer in 
1861 and visited England in 1&66, dying in 
Southampton before he could get back to 
America. The famous character he created 
was that of a Yankee showman. 

Artesian Wells. So called from Artels, the Old 

French name for Artois, in France, where they 
were first bored. They are sunk with a boring 
or drilling apparatus into water or oil-bearing 
strata from which the liquid rises by its own 
pressure to the top of the bore. 

Artful Dodger. A young thief in Dickens's 
Oliver Twist, pupil of Fagin. His name was 
Jack Dawkins, and he became a most perfect 
adept in villainy. 

Arthegal. See ARTEGAL. 
Arthur. A shadowy British chieftain of the 
6th century, first mentioned by Nennius, a 
Breton monk of the 10th century. He fought 
many battles and is said to have been a king of 
the Silures, a tribe of ancient Britons, to have 
been mortally wounded in the battle of Camlan 
(537), in Cornwall, during the revolt of his 
nephew, Modred (who was also slain), and to 
have been taken to Glastonbury, where he died. 

His wife was Guinevere, who committed 
adultery with Sir Launeelot of the Lake, one of 
the Knights of the Round Table. 

Arthur was the natural son of Uther and 
Igerna (wife of Gorolis, duke of Cornwall), 
and was brought up by Sir Ector. 

He was born at Tintagel Castle, in Cornwall 

His chief home and the seat of his court; was 
Caerleon, in Wales; and he was .tmwi at 
Avalon (#.v.). 

Arthur's Seat 



His sword was called Excalibur; his spear, 
Rone; and his shield, Pridwin. His dog was 
named Cavall. See ROUND TABLE, KNIGHTS 

Arthur's Seat. A hill overlooking Edin- 
burgh from the east. The name is not 
connected with King Arthur; it is a corruption 
of the Gaelic Ard-na-said, the height of the 
arrows, hence, a convenient ground to shoot 

Arthurian Romances. The stories which 
have King Arthur as their central figure 
appear as early as the 12th century in the 
Historia Regum Britannice of Geoffrey of 
Monmouth (d. 1154), which drew partly 
from the work of Nennius (see ARTHUR), 
partly according to the author from an 
ancient British or Breton book (lost, if ever 
existing) lent him by Walter, Archdeacon of 
Oxford, and partly from sources which are 
untraced, but the originals of which are 
probably embedded in Welsh or Celtic legends, 
most of them being now non-extant. The 
original Arthur was a very shadowy warrior; 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, probably at the 
instigation of Henry I and for the purpose of 
providing the new nation with a national hero, 
made many additions; the story was taken up 
in France and further expanded; Wace, a 
French poet (who is the first to mention the 
Round Table, q.v.), turned it into a metrical 
chronicle of some 14,000 lines (Brut d' Angle- 
terre, c. 1155); Celtic and other legends, 
including those of the Grail (#.v.) and Sir Tris- 
tram, were superadded, and in about 1205 
Layamon, the Worcestershire priest, completed 
his Brut (about 30,000 lines), which included 
Wace's work and amplifications such as the 
story of the fairies at Arthur's birth, who, at 
his death, wafted him to Avalon, as well as Sir 
Gawain and Sir Bedivere. In France the 
legends were worked upon by Robert de Bor- 
ron (fl. 1215), who first attached the story of 
the Grail (q.v.) to the Arthurian Cycle and 
brought the legend of Merlin into prominence, 
and Cnrestien de Troyes (c. 1140-90), who is 
responsible for the presence in the Cycle of the 
tale of Enid and Geramt, the tragic loves of 
Launcelot and Guinevere, the story of Perce- 
val, and other additions for many of which he 
was indebted to the Welsh Mabinogion. Many 
other legends in the form of ballads, romances, 
and Welsh and Breton songs and lays were 
popular, and m the 15th century the whole 
corpus was collected, edited, and more or less 
worked into a state of homogeneity by Sir 
Thomas Malory (d. 1471), his Le Morte 
d' Arthur being printed by Caxton in 1485. 
For the different heroes, sections, etc., of this 
great Cycle of Romance, see the various names 
throughout this Dictionary. 
Articles of Roup. The conditions of sale at 
a roup (q,v.), as announced by a crier. 
Artists, The Prince of. Albrecht Durer (1471- 
1528) was so called by his countrymen. 
Arts. Degrees in Arts. In the medieval ages 
the full course consisted of the three subjects 
which constituted the Trivium, and the four 
subjects which constituted the Quadrivium: 
The Jrivium was grammar, logic, and 

The Quadrivium was music, arithmetic, 
geometry, and astronomy. 

The Master of Arts was the person qualified 
to teach or be the master of students in arts; 
as the Doctor was the person qualified to teach 
theology, law, or medicine. 

Arundel. See HORSE. 

Arundelian Marbles. A collection of ancient 
sculptures made at great expense by Thomas 
Howard, Earl of Arundel, and presented to 
the University of Oxford in 1667 by his grand- 
son, Henry Howard, afterwards Duke of 
Norfolk. They contain tables of ancient 
chronology, especially that of Athens, from 
1582 to 264 B.C., engraved in old Greek capi- 
tals, and the famous " Parian Chronicle," said 
to have been executed in the island of Paros 
about 263 B.C. 

Arvakur. See HORSE. 

Arval Brothers. An ancient Roman college of 
priests, revived by Augustus. It consisted of 
12 priests (including the Emperor), whose sole 
duty was to preside at the festival of Dea Dia 
in May; they worshipped in the groves of that 
goddess on the Via Campana, 5 miles from 

Aryans. The parent stock of what is called 
the Indo-European family of nations. Their 
original home is quite unknown, authorities 
differing so widely as between a locality en- 
closed by the river Oxus and the Hindu-kush 
mountains, and the shores of the Baltic, or 
Central Europe. The Aryan family of lan- 
guages includes Sanskrit, Zend, Latin, Greek, 
Celtic, Persian and Hindu, with all the Euro- 
pean, except Basque, Turkish, Hungarian, and 
Finnish. Sometimes called the Indo-European, 
sometimes the Indo-Germanic, and sometimes 
the Japhetic. 

Under the Nazi regime in Germany the word 
was prostituted by being applied to any race, 
person or thing that was not Semitic, even the 
Japanese being classified as Aryans. 

Arzina. A river that flows into the North Sea, 
near Wardhus, where Sir Hugh Willoughby's 
three ships were ice-bound, and the whole crew 
perished of starvation, 

In these fell regions, in Arzina caught, 
And to the stony deep his idle ship 
Immediate sealed, he with his hapless crew . . . 
Froze into statues. 

THOMSON: Winter, 930. 

Asaph. In the Bible, a famous musician in 
David's time (1 Chron. xxv, 1, 2). There was 
probably no such person, but in post-exilic 
times _ there were two hereditary choirs that 
superintended the musical services of the 
Temple, one of which was b'ne Asaph, and the 
other b'ne Korah. The Asaph mentioned in 
Chronicles is the supposed founder of the first 

Tate, who wrote the second part of Absalom 
and Achitophel, lauds Dryden under this name. 
While Judah's throne and Sion's rock stand fast 
The song of Asaph and the fame shall last. 

Absalom and Achitophel, Pt. ii, 1063. 
Ascalaphus. In Greek mythology, an in- 
habitant of the underworld who, when Pluto 
gave Proserpine permission to return to the 
upper world if she had eaten nothing, said that 




she had partaken of a pomegranate. In 
revenge Proserpine turned him into an owl by 
sprinkling him with the water of Phlegethon. 

Ascendant. An astrological term. In casting 
a horoscope the point of the ecliptic or degree 
of the zodiac which is just rising at the moment 
of birth is called the ascendant, and the eastern- 
most star represents the house of life (see 
HOUSE), because it is in the act of ascending. 
This is a man's strongest star, and when his 
outlook is bright, we say his star is in the 

The house of the Ascendant, includes five 
degrees of the zodiac above the point just 
rising, and twenty-five below it. Usually, the 
point of birth is referred to. 

The lord of the Ascendant is any planet 
within the "house of the Ascendant." The 
house and lord of the Ascendant at birth were 
said by astrologers to exercise great influence 
on the future life of the child. Deborah 
referred to the influence of the stars when she 
said "the stars in their courses fought against 
Sisera" (Judges v. 20). 

Ascension Day, or Holy Thursday Gy.v.). The 
day set apart by the Christian Churches to 
commemorate the ascent of our Lord from 
earth to heaven. It is the fortieth day after 
Asclepiads, or Asclepiadic Metre (as kle pi' adz) 
A term in Greek and Latin prosody denoting a 
verse (invented by Asclepiades) which consists 
of a spondee, two (or three) choriambi, and an 
iambus, usually with a central caesura, thus : 

The first ode of Horace is Asclepiadic. The 
first and last two lines may- be translated in the 
same metre, thus: 
Dear friend, patron of song, sprung from the race of 

kings ; 

Thy name ever a grace and a protection brings. . . . 
My name, if to the lyre haply you chance to wed, 
Pride would high as the stars lift my exalted head. 

Ascot Races. A very fashionable meeting, run 
early in June on Ascot Heath (6 miles from 
Windsor). These races were instituted early 
in the 18th century. 

Ascnean Poet, or Sage (as kre' an). Hesiod, 
the Greek didactic poet, born at Ascra in 
Boeotia. Virgil (Eclogues, vii, 70) calls him 
the " Old Ascrseon." 

Asgard (aY gard) (As, a god, gard or gardh, 
an enclosure, garth, yard). The realm of the 
/Esir or the Northern gods, the Olympus of 
Scandinavian mythology. It is said to be 
situated in the centre of the universe, and 
accessible only by the rainbow-bridge (Bifrosf). 
It contained many regions and mansions, such 
as Gladsheim and Valhalla. 
Ash Tree, or Tree of the Universe. See 

Ash Wednesday. The first Wednesday in Lent, 
so called from an ancient Roman Catholic 
custom of sprinkling on the heads of penitents 
who had confessed that day the ashes of the 
palms that were consecrated on the previous 
Palm Sunday which themselves had been 
consecrated at the altar. The custom, it 
is said, was introduced by Gregory the Great. 

Ashes. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. A phrase 
from the English Burial Service, used some- 
times to signify total finality. It is founded on 
various scriptural texts, such as "Dust thpu 
art, and unto dust thou shalt return" (Gen. iii, 
19), and "I will bring thee to ashes upon the 
earth in the sight of all them that behold thee" 
(Ezek. xxviii, 18). 

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, 

If God won't have him the Devil must. 
According to Sir Walter Scott (see his edition 
of Swift's Journal to Stella. March 25th, 
1710-11), this was the form of burial service 
given by the sexton to the body of Guiscard, 
the French refugee who, in 1711, attempted 
the life of Harley, 

To recover the ashes. A cricket term applied 
to the England- Australia cricket seasons played 
alternately in the two countries, the "ashes" 
being the mythical prize contended for. When 
England was beaten in 1882 a humorous 
epitaph on English cricket appeared in a 
sporting journal, and it wound up with the 
remark that " the body will be cremated and 
the ashes taken to Australia." There are 
seyeral more or less fabulous embroideries of 
this story. 

Ashmolean Museum (ash mp' li an). The first 
public museum of curiosities in England. It 
was presented to the University of Oxford in 
1677 by Ehas Ashmole (1617-92), the anti- 
quarian, who had inherited the greater part of 
the contents from his friend John Tradescant. 
Ashmole later gave his library to the Univer- 
sity. The museum building was the work of 
Sir Christopher Wren. 

Ashtoreth (ash/ to reth). The goddess of 
fertility and reproduction among the Canaan- 
ites and Phoenicians, called by the Babylonians 
Ishtar (Venus), and by the Greeks Astatte 
(<?.v). She may possibly be the "queen of 
heaven " mentioned by Jeremiah (vii, 18, xliv, 
17, 25). Formerly she was supposed to be a 
moon-goddess, hence Milton's reference in his 
Ode on the Nativity. 

Mooned Ashtaroth, 
Heaven's queen and mother both, 

Ashur. See ASSHUR. 

Asinego (as i ne' go) (Port.) A young ass, a 


Thou hast no more brain than I have in. mine 
elbows; an asinego may tutor thee 

SHAKESPEARE: Troilus and Crc&ida, ii, 1. 

Asir. See ^EsiR. 

Ask. The dialectal ax was the common 
literary form down to about the end of the 
16th century. The word comes from the O.E. 
ascian, which, by metathesis, became acslan, 
and so axian. Chaucer has: 
How sholde I axen mercy of Tisbe 
Whan I am he that have yow slam, alias! 

Legend of Good Women, 835. 

and the Wyclif version of Matt, vii, 7-10, 
reads : 

Axe ye and it schal be gyven to you; seke yee, 
and yee schulen fynde; knocke ye: and it schal be 
openid to you. For ech that axith, takith, and he 
that sekith, fundith- and it schal be opened to him 
that knockith. What man of you is, that if his sone 
axe him breed: whether he wole take him a stoon? 
Or if he axe fish, whether he wole give him an 




Aslo. See HORSE. 

Asmodeus (as mo de'us, as mo'di iis). The "evil 
demon'* who appears in the Apocryphal book 
of Tobit, borrowed (and to some extent trans- 
formed) from Aeshma, one of the seven 
archangels of Persian mythology. The name 
is probably the Zend Aeshmo daeva (the demon 
Aeshma), and is not connected with the Heb. 
samad, to destroy. The character of Asmo- 
deus is explained m the following passage from 
The Testament of Solomon 

I am called Asmodeus among mortals, and my 
business is to plot against the newly-wedded, so that 
they may not know one another. And I sever them 
utterly by many calamities; and I waste away the 
beauty of virgins, and estrange their hearts, 

In Tobit Asmodeus falls in love with Sara, 
daughter of Raguel, and causes the death of 
seven husbands in succession, each on his bridal 
night. After her marriage to Tobias, he was 
driven into Egypt by a charm, made by Tobias 
of the heart and liver of a fish burnt on per- 
fumed ashes, and being pursued was taken 
prisoner and bound. 

Better pleased 

Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. 
MILTON: Paradise Lost, iv, 167. 

Le Sage gave the name to the companion of 
Don Cleofas in his Devil on Two Sticks. 

Asmodeus flight. Don Cleofas, catching 
hold of his companion's cloak, is perched on 
the steeple of St. Salvador. Here the foul fiend 
stretches out his hand, and the roofs of all the 
houses open in a moment, to show the Don 
what is going on privately in each respective 

Asoka (as' oka). An Indian king of the 
Maurya dynasty of Magadha, 263-226 B.C., 
who was converted to Buddhism by a miracle 
and became its "nursing father/* as Constan- 
tine was of Christianity. He is called " the 
king beloved of the gods.'* 

Aspasia (a spa' zi a). A Milesian woman (fl. 
440 B.C.), celebrated for her beauty and talents, 
who lived at Athens as mistress of Pericles, and 
whose house became the centre of literary and 
philosophical society. She was the most 
celebrated of the Greek Hetaerae, and on the 
death of Pericles (429 B.C.) lived with the 
democratic leader, Lysicles. 

Aspatia (a spa' sha), in the Maid's Tragedy, of 
Beaumont and Fletcher, is noted for her deep 
sorrows, her great resignation, and the pathos 
of her speeches. Amyntor deserts her, women 
point at her with scorn, she is the jest and by- 
word of everyone, but she bears it all with 

Aspen. The aspen leaf is said to tremble, from 
shame- and horror, because our Lord's cross 
was made of this wood. In fact, owing to the 
shape of the leaf and its long, flexible leaf-stalk, 
it is peculiarly liable to be acted on by the least 
breath of air. 

Asphaltic Lake, The Dead Sea, where asphalt 

abounds both on the surface of the water and 
on the banks. Asphalt is a bitumen. 

There was an asphaltic and Bituminous nature in 
that Lake before the fire of Gomorrah. 

Sir THOS. BROWNE: Religlo Medici, i, 19. 

There is a bituminous, or asphalt, lake in 

Asphodel (as' fo del). Old-fashioned garden 
flowers of the natural order Liliacese. The 
name daffodil is a corruption of asphodel. In 
the language of flowers it means "regret." It 
was- said that the spirits of the dead sustained 
themselves on the roots of this flower, and the 
ancients planted them on graves. Pliny and 
others said that the ghosts beyond Acheron 
roamed through the meadows of asphodel, in 
order to reach the waters of Lethe or Oblivion. 
Ass. The dark stripe running down the back 
of an ass, crossed by another at the shoulders, 
is, according to tradition, the cross that was 
communicated to the creature when our Lord 
rode on the back of an ass in His triumphant 
entry into Jerusalem. 

Till the ass ascends the ladder i. e. never. A 
rabbinical expression. The Romans had a 
similar one, Cum asinus in teguhs ascendent 
(When the ass climbs to the tiles). 

That which thou knowest not perchance thine 
ass can tell thee. An allusion to Balaam's ass. 

Ass, deaf to music. This tradition arose 
from the hideous noise made by "Sir Balaam" 
in braying. See ASS-EARED. 

An ass in a lion's skin. A coward who* 
hectors, a fool that apes the wise man. The 
allusion is to the fable of an ass that put on a 
lion's hide, but was betrayed when he began to 

To make an ass of oneself. To do something 
very foolish. To expose oneself to ridicule. 

Sell your ass. Get rid of your foolish ways. 

The ass waggeth his ears. This proverb is 
applied to those who lack learning, and yet 
talk as if they were very wise; men wise in their 
own conceit. The ass, proverbial for having 
no "taste for music," will nevertheless wag 
its ears at a "concord of sweet sounds," just 
as if it could well appreciate it. 

An ass with two panniers. Said of a man 
walking the streets with a lady on each arm. 
The Italian equivalent is a pitcher with two- 
handles, and formerly it was called in London 
walking bodkin (#.v.). Our expression is from 
the French faire le panier a deux anses, a 
colloquialism for walking with a lady on each 

Ass's bridge. See PONS ASINORUM. 

Well, well! honey is not for the ass's mouth. 
Persuasion will not persuade fools. The 
gentlest words will not divert the anger of the 

Wrangle for an ass's shadow. To contend 
about trifles. The tale told by Demosthenes 
is, that a man hired an ass to take him to 
Megara; and at noon, the sun being very hot, 
the traveller dismounted, and sat himself down 
in the shadow of the ass. Just then the owner 
came up and claimed the right of sitting in this 




shady spot, saying that he let out the ass for 
hire, but there was no bargain made about the 
ass's shade. The two men then fell to blows 
to settle the point in dispute. While they 
were wrangling the ass took to its heels and 
ran away, leaving them both in the glare of 
the sun. 

Asses as well as pitchers have ears. Children, 
and even the densest minds, hear and under- 
stand many a word and hint which the speaker 
supposed would pass unheeded. 

Feast of Asses. See FOOLS. 

Asses that carry the mysteries (asini portant 
mysterid). A classical knock at the Roman 
clergy. The allusion is to the custom of 
employing asses to carry the cista which con- 
tained the sacred symbols, when processions 
were made through the streets. (Warburton: 
Divine Legation, ii, 4.) 

Golden Ass. See GOLDEN. 

Ass-eared. Midas had the ears of an ass. 
The tale says Apollo and Pan had a contest, 
and chose Midas to decide which was the better 
musician. Midas gave sentence in favour of 
Pan; and Apollo, in disgust, changed his ears 
into those of an ass. 

Avarice is as deaf to the voice of virtue, as the 
ass to the voice of Apollo. Orlando Funosio, xvu 

Assassins (a sas' inz). A sect of Oriental 
fanatics of a military and religious character, 
founded in Persia in 1090 by Hassan ben 
Sabbah, better known as the Old Man (or 
Sheikh) of the Mountains (see under MOUN- 
TAIN), because the sect migrated to Mount 
Lebanon and made it its stronghold. This 
band was the terror of the world for two 
centuries, and, to the number of 50,000 strong, 
offered formidable opposition to the Crusaders. 
Their religion was a compound of Magianism, 
Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism, 
and their name is derived from haschisch 
(bang), an intoxicating drink, with which they 
are said to have "doped" themselves before 
perpetrating their orgies of massacre. They 
were finally put down by the Sultan Bibars, 
about 1272. 

Assay (a sa), or Essay (through O.Fr. from 
Lat. exagium, to weigh). To try or test; to 
determine the amount of different metals in an 
ore, etc.; and, formerly, to taste food or drink 
before it is offered to a sovereign; hence, to 
take the assay is to taste wine to prove it is not 

The aphetic form of the word, "say," was 
common down to the 17th century, and 
Edmund, in King Lear (v, 5), says to Edgar, 
"Thy tongue, some .raj of breeding breathes"; 
i.e. thy speech gives indication of good 
breeding it savours of it. 

Assay, as a noun, means a test or trial, as 

[He] makes vow before his uncle never more 

To give the assay of arms against your majesty. 
SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, n, 2. 

But for the last three hundred years the spel- 
ling essay has been adopted (from French) for 
the noun, in all uses except those connected 
with the assaying of metals. 
Assaye Regiment. See REGIMENTAL NICK- 

Assemblage, Nouns of. Long custom .and 
technical usage have ascribed certain words to 
assemblages of animals, things, or persons. 
Some of the principal are given here: 

Animals, birds, etc. 
antelopes: a herd, 
asses: a pace or herd, 
badgers: a cete. 
bears: a sleuth, 
bees: a swarm, a grist, 
birds: a flock, flight, congregation, volery. 
bitterns: a sedge or siege, 
boars: a sounder, 
bucks: a brace or leash, 
buffaloes: a herd, 
cattle: a drove or herd, 
chickens: a brood, 
choughs: a chattering, 
coots: a covert, 
cranes: a herd, sedge or siege, 
cubs: a litter, 
curlews' a herd, 
deer: a herd, 
ducks: (in flight) a team, 
elk: a gang, 
ferrets: a fesnyng. 

fishes: a shoal, draught, haul, run, or catch, 
flies: a swarm. 
foxes: a skulk. 

geese: (in flight) a skein; (on the ground), a gaggle, 
gnats: a swarm or cloud, 
goats a herd or tribe, 
goldfinches: a charm, 
grouse: (a single brood), a covey; (several broods) a 


hares: a down or husk, 
hawks: a cast. 
hens: a brood, 
herons: a sedge or siege, 
herrings: a shoal, 
hounds : a pack or mute, 
kangaroos: a troop, 
kine: a droye. 
kittens: a kindle, 
larks: an exaltation, 
leopards: a leap, 
lions: a pride, 
mares: a stud, 
monkeys : a troop, 
nightingales: a watch, 
oxen: a yoke, drove, team, or herd, 
partridges: a covey, 
peacocks: a muster, 
pheasants: a nye or nide. 
pigeons: a flock or flight, 
pilchards: a shoal, 
plovers : a wing or congregation, 
porpoises: a school, 
pups: a litter, 
quails: a bevy, 
rooks: a building or clamour 
seals: a herd or pod. 
sheep: a flock, 
swans: a herd or bevy, 
swifts: a flock, 
swine: a sounder or drift, 
whales: a school, gam, or pod. 
wolves: a pack, rout, or herd. 
woodcock: a fall. 


aeroplanes: a flight, squadron. 

arrows : a sheaf. 

bells: a peal. 

boats: a flotilla. 

bowls: a set. 

bread: a batch. 

cards: a pack, a deck (Am.). 

cars: a fleet. 

eggs: a clutch. 

flowers : a bouquet or nosegay. 

golf-clubs: a set. 



Astral spirits 

guns: (sporting), a pair. 

grapes: a cluster or bunch. 

onions: a rope. 

pearls: a rope or string. 

rags: a bundle. 

sails: an outfit. 

ships: a fleet or squadron. 

stars: a cluster or constellation. 

steps: a flight. 

trees: a clump. 


actors: a company, cast, or troupe 
angels: a host, 
baseball team: a nine, 
beaters: a squad, 
bishops: a bench 
cricket team: an eleven, 
dancers: a troupe. 

football: (Association), an eleven; (Rugby), a fifteen, 
girls: a bevy, 
labourers: a gang, 
lacrosse team' a twelve, 
magistrates: a bench, 
minstrels: a troupe, 
musicians, a band, an orchestra, 
players: a side or team, 
police: a posse, 
polo team: a four, 
rowing: an eight, a four, a pair, 
runners: a field, 
sailors: a crew, 
savages: a horde, 
servants: a staff, 
slaves: a gang, 
worshippers: a congregation. 

Asshur. The chief god of the Assyrian 
pantheon, perhaps derived from the Baby- 
lonian god of heaven, Anu. His symbol was 
the winged circle in which was frequently en- 
closed a draped male figure carrying three 
horns on the head and with one hand stretched 
forth, sometimes with a bow in the hand. His 
wife was Belit (/ e. the Lady, par excellence), 
who has been identified with the Ishtar (see 
ASHTORETH) of Nineveh. 

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded 
Nineveh. Gen. x, 1 1 . 

Assiento Treaties (Sp. asiento, agreement). 
Contracts entered into by Spain with Portugal, 
France, and England to supply her South 
American colonies with Negro slaves. Eng- 
land joined in 1713, after the peace of Utrecht, 
and kept the disgraceful monopoly (with a few 
breaks) till 1750. 

Association Cup. This is the trophy competed 
for annually by football clubs playing the 
Association game. The first final was played 
at Kennington Oval, 16th March, 1872, when 
Bolton Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers, 
1 0. Since then the cup has been contested 
year by year except for the war years 1939-45. 
Since 1930 the winners have been : 

1931 West Bromwich Albion. 

1932 Newcastle United. 

1933 Everton. 

1934 Manchester Cit>. 

1935 Sheffield Wednesday. 

1936 Arsenal. 

1937 Sunderland. 

1938 Preston North End. 

1939 Portsmouth. 

1946 Derby County 

1947 Charlton Athletic. 

1948 Manchester United. 

1949 Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

1950 Arsenal. 

1951 Newcastle United. 

Assumption, Feast of the. In the R.C. 

Church the principal feast day of the Virgin 
Mary, observed on August 15th. On Novem- 
ber 1st, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared ex 
cathedra that thenceforth it would be a dogma 
of the Church that at the death of the Virgin 
her body was preserved from corruption, 
and that shortly afterwards it was assumed 
(Lat. assumere, to take to) into heaven and 
reunited to her soul. 

Assurance. Audacity, brazen self-confidence. 
"His assurance is quite unbearable." 

Assurance provides for the contingence of a 
certainty, e.g. life assurance is a financial 
provision for the certain fact of death. Insur- 
ance provides against what may or may not 
happen, e g. burglary, fire. 

To make assurance doubly sure. To make 
security doubly secure. 

But yet I'll make assurance double sure, 

And take a bound of fate. 

SHAKESPEARE: Macbeth, iv, 1. 

Astarte (astar'ti). The Greek name for 
Ashtoreth (<7.v.), sometimes thought to have 
been a moon-goddess. Hence Milton's allu- 

With these in troop 

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called 
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns. 
Paradise Lost, i, 437. 

Byron gave the name to the lady beloved by 
Manfred in his drama, Manfred. It has been 
suggested that Astarte was drawn from the 
poet's sister, Augusta (Mrs. Leigh), 

Astolat (as' to lat). This town, mentioned in 
the Arthurian legends, is generally identified 
with Guildford, in Surrey, though there can be 
no certainty. 

The Lily Maid of Astolat. . Elaine (q.v.). 
Astoreth. See ASHTORETH. 

Astrsea (as tre' a). Equity, innocence. Dur- 
ing the Golden Age this goddess dwelt on 
earth, but when sin began to prevail, she 
reluctantly left it, and was metamorphosed into 
the constellation Virgo. 

When hard-hearted interest first began 
To poison earth, Astrsea left the plain. 

THOMSON: Castle of Indolence, I, x. 

Pope gave the name to Mrs. Aphra Bchn 
(1640-89), playwright and novelist, author of 
the once-popular novel Oroonoko. 

Sir John Davies (1569-1626) wrote a series 
of twenty-six acrostics, entitled Hymns to 
Astraea, in honour of Queen Elizabeth. 

Astrakhan. Takes its name from the province 
of Astrakhan in Russia and is the fur, or 
wool, of a karakul lamb. 

Astral Body. In tlieosophical parlance, the 
phantasmal or spiritual appearance of the 
physical human form, that is existent both 
before and after the death of the material body, 
though during life it is not usually separated 
from it; also the "kamarupa" or body of 
desires, which retains a finite life in the astral 
world after bodily death. 

Astral spirits. The spirits of the dead that 
occupy the stars and the stellar regions, or 
astral world. According to the occultists, each 



Athenian Bee 

star has its special spirit; and Paracelsus 
maintained that every man had his attendant 
star, which received him at death, and took 
charge of him till the great resurrection. 

Astrology. The ancient and mediaeval so- 
called "'science" that professed to foretell 
events by studying the position of the stars and 
discovering their occult influence on human 
affairs. It is one of the most ancient super- 
stitions; it prevailed from earliest times among 
the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Etruscans, Hindus, 
Chinese, etc., and had a powerful influence in 
the Europe of the Middle Ages. Natural Astro- 
logy i.e. the branch that dealt with meteor- 
ological phenomena and with time, tides, 
eclipses, the fixing of Easter, etc. was the 
forerunner of the science of Astronomy; what 
is now known as "astrology" was formerly 
differentiated from this as Judicial Astrology \ 
and dealt with star-divination and the occult 
planetary and sidereal influences upon human 

Astronomers Royal. (1) Flamsteed, 1675; 
(2) Halley, 1719; (3) Bradley, 1742; (4) Bliss, 
1762; (5) Maskelyne, who originated the 
Nautical Almanack, 1765; (6) Pond, 1811; (7) 
Airy, 1835; (8) Christie, 1881; (9) Sir F. W. 
Dyson, 1910; (10) Sir H. S. Jones, 1933 

Astrophel (as' tro fel). Sir Philip Sidney 
(1554-86). "Phil. Sid." being a contraction of 
Philos Sidus, and the Latin sidus being changed 
to the Greek astron, we get astron-philos (star- 
lover). The "star" that he loved was 
Penelope Devereux, whom he called Stella 
(star), and to whom he was betrothed. Spen- 
ser wrote a pastoral called Astrophel, to the 
memory of his friend and patron, who fell at 
the battle of Zutphen. 

Asur (as 7 ur). The national god of the ancient 
Assyrians; the supreme god over all the gods. 

Asurbanipal. See SARDANAPALUS. 
Asylum means, literally, a place where pillage 
is forbidden (Gr. a, not, salon, right of pillage). 
The ancients set apart certain places of refuge, 
where the vilest criminals were protected, from 
both private and public assaults. 

Asynja (as in' ya). The goddesses of Asgard; 
the feminine counterparts of the ^Esir. 

At Home. See HOME. 

Atalanta's Race (at a Ian' ta). Atalanta, in 
Greek legend, was a daughter of lasus and 
Clymene. She took part in the Calydoman 
hunt and, being very swift of foot, refused to 
marry unless the suitor should first defeat her 
m a race. Milanion overcame her at last by 
dropping, one after another, during the race, 
three golden apples that had been given him 
for the purpose by Venus. Atalanta was not 
proof against the temptation to pick them up, 
and so lost the race and became a wife. In the 
Boeotian form of the legend Hippomenes takes 
the place of Milanion. 

Atargatis (at ar gat' is). A fish-goddess of the 
Phoenicians. Her temple at Carnaim is men- 
tioned in the Apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 
(xii, 26), and she had another at Ascalon. 

Ate (a' te). In Greek mythology, the goddess 
of vengeance and mischief; she was driven out 
of heaven, and took refuge among the sons of 

With Ate by his side come hot from hell. . . . 

Cry " Havoc " and let slip the dogs of war. 
SHAKESPEARE: Julius Ccesar, iii, I. 

In Spenser's Faene Queene (IV, i, iv, ix, etc.), 
the name is given to a lying and slanderous hag, 
the companion of Duessa. 

Atellanse, or Atellan Farces (atela'ne). 
Licentious interludes in the Roman theatres, 
introduced from Atella, in Campania. The 
characters of Macchus and Bucco are the fore- 
runners of our Punch and Clown. 

Athanasian Creed (ath a na' shan) . One of the 
three creeds accepted by the Roman and 
Anglican Churches; so called because it em- 
bodies the opinions of Athanasius respecting 
the Trinity. It was compiled in the 5th 
century by Hilary, Bishop of Aries. 

In the Episcopal Prayer Book of America 
this creed is omitted. 

Atheists. During World War II Father W. T. 
Cummings, an American army chaplain at 
Bataan, in one of his sermons used the phrase, 
"there are no atheists in foxholes," meaning 
that no one can deny the existence of God m 
the face of imminent death. 

Athenaeum (ath e ne' urn). A famous academy 
or university situated on the Capitoline Hill at 
Rome, and founded by Hadrian about AJD. 133. 
So called in honour of Athene. As now used 
the name usually denotes a literary or scientific 

The Athenasum Club in London was 
established in 1824; the review of this name 
(now merged in the Spectator) was founded by 
James Silk Buckingham in 1828. 

Athene (a the' ne). The goddess of wisdom 
and of the arts and sciences in Greek mytho- 
logy: the counterpart of the Roman Minerva 

Athens. When the goddess of wisdom dis- 
puted with the sea-god which of them should 
give name to Athens, the gods decided that it 
should be called by the name of that deity 
which bestowed on man the most useful boon. 
Athene (the goddess of wisdom) created the 
olive tree, Poseidon created the horse. The 
vote was given in favour of the olive tree, and 
the city was called Athens. An olive branch was 
the symbol of peace., and was also the highest 
prize of the victor in the Olympic games. The 
horse, on the other hand, was the symbol of 

Athens of Ireland. Belfast. 
Athens of the New World. Boston. 
Athens of the West. Cordoba in Spain, was 
so called in the Middle Ages. 
The Modern Athens. Edinburgh. 

Athenian Bee. Plato (429-327 B.C.), a 
native of Athens, was so called because, 
according to tradition, when in his cradle a 
swarm of bees alighted on his mouth, and in 
consequence his words flowed with the sweet- 
ness of honey. The same tale is told of St. 

Athole Brose 



Ambrose, and others. See BEE. Xenophon 
(444-359 B.C.) is also called "the Bee of 
Athens,'* or " the Athenian Bee." 
Athole Brose (Scots). A compound of oat- 
meal, honey, and whisky. 
Atkins. See TOMMY ATKINS. 
Atlantean Shoulders. Shoulders able to bear 
a great weight, like those of Atlas (?.v.). 

Sage he stood, 

With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear 
The weight of mightiest monarchies. 

MILTON: Paradise Lost, ii, 305. 

Atlantes (at Ian' tez). Figures of men, used in 
architecture as pillars. So called from Atlas 
(?.v.). Female figures are called Caryatides 
(q.v.). See also TELAMONES. 
Atlantic Charter. President Roosevelt and 
Winston Churchill after meeting at sea dur- 
ing the 1939-45 War made a declaration of 
their common principles, August 14th 1941, 
known as the Atlantic Charter. They de- 
clared, among other things, that the U.S. and 
Great Britain desired no aggrandizement, that 
they wished all peoples to live under their 
chosen form of Government and to have access 
to those raw materials necessary to their 
economic prosperity, that they hoped for 
improved labour standards and social security 
for all, and that when peace came they wished 
all men to live free from fear and from want. 
Finally, they urged general disarmament at 
the end of hostilities. 

Atlantic Ocean. The ocean is so called 
either from the Atlas mountains, the great 
range in north-west Africa which, to the 
ancients, seemed to overlook the whole 
ocean, or from Atlantis (q.v.}. 

Atlantic Wall. The name given by the 
Germans in World War II to their defences 
built up around the west coast of France to 
resist the expected Allied landings. 
Atlantis. A mythical island of great extent 
which was anciently supposed to have existed 
in the Atlantic Ocean. It is first mentioned 
by Plato (in the Timceus and Cntias), and Solon 
was told of it by an Egyptian priest, who said 
that it had been overwhelmed by an earthquake 
and sunk beneath the sea 9,000 years before 
his time. Cp. LEMURIA; LYONESSE. 

The New Atlantis. An allegorical romance 
by Bacon (written between 1614 and 1618) in 
which he describes an imaginary island where 
was established a philosophical commonwealth 
bent on the cultivation of the natural sciences. 

Mrs. Manley, in 1709, published under the 
same title a scandalous chronicle, in which the 
names of contemporaries are so thinly dis 
guised as to be readily recognized. 

Atlas (at' las). In Greek mythology, one of 
the Titans condemned by Zeus for his share in 
the War of the Titans to uphold the heavens on 
his shoulders. He was stationed on the Atlas 
mountains in Africa, and the tale is merely a 
poetical way of saying that they prop up the 
heavens, because they are so lofty. 

Bid Atlas, propping heaven, as poets feign, 

His subterranean wonders spread! 

THOMSON: Aufumn, 797, 

A book of maps is so called because the 
figure of Atlas with the world on his back was 
employed by Mercator on the title-page of his 
collection of maps in the 1 6th century. In the 
paper trade Atlas is a standard size of drawing- 
paper measuring 26 x 34 in. 
Atli. See&rzEL. 

Atman (at' man), in Buddhist philosophy, is 
the noumenon of one's own self. Not the Ego, 
but the ego divested of all that is objective; the 
"spaik of heavenly flame." In the Upani- 
shads the Atman is regarded as the sole reality. 

The unseen and unperceivable, which was formerly 
called the soul, was now called the self, Atman. 
Nothing could be predicated of it except that it was, 
that it perceived and thought, and that it must be 
blessed. MAX MULLER. 

Atomic Energy and the Atomic Bomb. All 

matter consists of atoms, and science asserts 
that each atom is composed of three types of 
particle, the proton, the electron and the 
neutron; the first possesses a positive electric 
charge, the second a negative charge of equal 
value, the neutron has no such charge. The 
protons, neutrons and some of the electrons 
form a nucleus around which the remainder of 
the electrons revolve. The binding force of 
the nucleus is not the same for every element. 
When the nucleus of one atom of Uranium 235 
is split up energy is released, due to the forma- 
tion of an element with a lower binding force. 
In addition neutrons are emitted which, in their 
turn, split up other atoms. If the whole pro- 
cess expands in this way it is called a chain 
reactipn, and if sufficient material is available 
a terrific explosion results. 

Atomic philosophy. The hypothesis of 
Leucippus, Democntus, and Epicurus, that the 
world is composed of a concourse of atoms, or 
particles of matter so minute as to be incapable 
of further diminution. Cp. CORPUSCULAR 

Atomic theory. The doctrine that all 
elemental bodies consist of aggregations of 
atoms (i.e. the smallest indivisible particles of 
the element in question), not united fortuit- 
ously, but according to fixed proportions. 
The four laws of Dalton are constant pro- 
portion, reciprocal proportion, multiple pro- 
portion, and compound proportion. 

Atomic volume. The space occupied by a 
quantity of an element C9mpared with, or in 
proportion to, atomic weight. 

Atomic weight. The weight of an atom of 
an element, compared with an atom of hydro- 
gen, the standard of unity. 

Atomy. See ANATOMY. 

Atossa (atos' a). Sarah, Duchess of Marl- 
borough (1660-1744), so called by Pope (Moral 
Essays, ii), was the friend of Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu, whom he calls Sappho. 
Herodotus says that Atossa, the mother of 
Xerxes, was a follower of Sappho. 

A-trip. The anchor is a-trip when it has just 
been drawn from the ground in a perpendicular 
direction. A sail is a-trip when it has been 
hoisted from the cap, and is ready for trim- 




Atropos (St' ro pos). In Greek mythology the 
eldest of the Three Fates, and the one who 
severs the thread of human life. 

Attaint (etymologically the same word as 
attain, through Fr. from Lat. ad, to, tangere, 
to touch). An old term in chivalry, meaning 
to strike the helmet and shield of an antagonist 
so firmly with the lance, held in a direct line, 
as either to break the lance or overthrow the 
person struck. Hence, to convict, condemn; 
hence, to condemn one convicted of treason to 
loss of honours and death. The later develop- 
ment of the word was affected by its fanciful 
association with taint. 

Attic. The Attic Bee, Sophocles (495-405 B.C.), 
the tragic poet, a native of Athens; so called 
from the great sweetness of his compositions. 

The Attic Bird. The nightingale; so called 
either because Philomel was the daughter of 
the King of Athens, or because of the great 
abundance of nightingales in Attica. 

Where the Attic bird 

Tulls her thick-warbled notes the summer long. 
MILTON: Paradise Regained, iv, 245. 
The Attic Boy. Cephalos, beloved by 
Aurora or Morn; passionately fond of hunting. 
Till civil-suited Morn appear, 
Not tricked and frounced, as she was wont 
With the Attic boy to hunt, 
But kerchiefed in a comely cloud. 

MILTON: // Penseroso. 

Attic faith. Inviolable faith, the very 
opposite of Punic faith. See PUNICA FIDES. 

The Attic Muse. Xenophon (444-356 B.C.), 
the historian, a native of Athens; so called 
because the style of his composition is a model 
of elegance. 

Attic salt. Elegant and delicate wit. Salt, 
both in Latin and Greek, was a common term 
for wit, or sparkling thought well expressed; 
thus Cicero says, Scipio omnes sale superabat. 
(Scipio surpassed all in wit). The Athenians 
were noted for their wit and elegant turns of 

Atticus (at' i kus). The most elegant and 
finished scholar of the Romans, and a book- 
seller (109-32 B.C.). His admirable taste and 
sound judgment were so highly thought of 
that even Cicero submitted several of, his 
treatises to him. 

The Christian Atticus. Reginald Heber 
(1783-1826), Bishop of Calcutta, a great book- 

The English Atticus. Joseph Addison 
(1672-1719), so called by Pope (Prologue to 
Satires), on account of his refined taste and 
philosophical mind. 

The Irish Atticus. George Faulkner (1700- 
75), bookseller, publisher, and friend of Swift; 
so called by Lord Chesterfield when Viceroy of 

Attila. See ETZEL. 
Attis. See ATYS. 

Attorney (a ter' ni) (Fr. atourner, to attorn, or 
turn over to another). One who acts as agent 
for another, especially in legal matters. The 
work of an attorney is now undertaken by a 

solicitor, and the term is only used in "Power 
of Attorney'* described below. A solicitor is 
one who solicits or petitions in Courts of 
Equity through counsel. At one time soli- 
citors belonged to Courts of Equity, and 
attorneys to the other courts. 

From and after Act 36, 37 Viet. Ixvi, 87, "all 
persons admitted as solicitors, attorneys, or proc- 
tors . . . empowered to practise in. any court, the 
jurisdiction of which is hereby transferred to the 
High Court of Justice, or the Court of Appeal, 
shall be called Solicitors of the Supreme Court." 

Power of Attorney. Legal authority given 
to another to collect rents, pay wages, invest 
money, or to act in matters stated in the 
instrument, according to his own judgment. 
In such cases quod aliquis fadt per aliquem y 
facit per se. 

Warrant of Attorney. The legal instrument 
which confers on another the "Power of 

The Attorney-General is the chief law officer 
of the Government and head of the Bar. He 
conducts cases on behalf of the Crown, 
advises the various departments of State on 
legal matters, and, if necessary, justifies such 
advice and action in Parliament. 

Atys (a' tis). The Phrygian counterpart of the 
Greek Adonis and Phoenician Tammuz. He 
was beloved by Cybele, the mother of the gods, 
who changed him into a pine-tree as he was 
about to commit suicide. A three- days* festi- 
val was held in his honour every spring; great 
grief and mourning was expressed, he was 
sought for on the mountains, and on the third 
day brought back to the shrine of Cybele amid 
great rejoicing. 

A.U.C. Abbreviation of the Lat. Anno Urbis 
Conditce, "from the foundation of the city" 
(Rome). It is the starting point of the Roman 
system of dating events, and corresponds with 
753 B.C. 

Au courant (5 koo' ron) (Fr.), "acquainted 
with" (literally, in the current [of events]). 
To keep one au courant of everything that 
passes, is to keep one familiar with, or in- 
formed of, passing events. 

Au fait (Fr.). Skilful, thorough master of; 
as, He is quite au fait in those matters, i.e. 
quite master of them or conversant with them. 

Au pied de la lettre (Fr.). Literatim et 
verbatim; according to the strict letter of the 

Arthur is but a boy, and a wild, enthusiastic 
young fellow whose opinions one must not take 
au pied de la Iettre. 

THACKERAY: Pendennls, i, 11. 

Au revoir (Fr.). "Good-bye for the 
present." Literally, tilt seeing you again. 

Aubaine. See DROIT D'AUBAINE. 
Aubry's Dog. See DOG. 

Auburn (aw'bern). It is supposed that this 
hamlet described by Goldsmith in The Deserted 
Village was Lissoy, County Westmeafh, 

Audley. We will John Audley it. A theatrical 
phrase meaning to abridge, or bring^ to a 
conclusion, a play in progress. It is said that 




in the 18th century a travelling showman 
named Shuter used to lengthen out his per- 
formance till a goodly number of newcomers 
were waiting for admission to the next house. 
An assistant would then call out, "Is John 
Audley here?" and the play was brought to an 
end as soon as possible. 

Audrey. In Shakespeare's As You Like It, an 
awkward country wench, who jilted William 
for Touchstone. See also TAWDRY. 

Augean Stables (awje'an). The stables of 
Augeas, the mythological king of Elis, in 
Greece. In these stables he had kept 3,000 
oxen, and they had not been cleansed for 
thirty years. One of the labours of Hercules 
(q.v.)^ was to cleanse them, and he did so by 
causing two rivers to run through them. 
Hence the phrase, to cleanse the Augean stables, 
means to clear away an accumulated mass of 
corruption, moral, religious, physical, or legal. 

Augsburg Confession. The chief standard of 
faith in the Lutheran Church, drawn up by 
Melancthon and Luther in 1530, and presented 
to Charles V and the Diet of the German 
Empire, which was sitting at Augsburg. 

The Interim of Augsburg. A Concordat 
drawn up by Charles V in 1548 to allay the 
religious turmoil of Germany. It was a pro- 
visional arrangement, based on the Augsburg 
Confession, and was to be in force till some 
definite decision could be pronounced by the 
General Council to be held at Trent. The 
Interim of Ratisbon was a similar temporary 
arrangement, resulting from the Diet of 
Ratisbon (1541). 

Augury (aw' gu ri) (probably from Lat. avis, a 
bird, and garnre, to talk), means properly the 
function of an augur, i.e. a religious official 
among the Romans who professed to foretell 
future events from omens derived chiefly from 
the actions of birds. The augur, having taken 
his stand on the Capitoline Hill, marked out 
with his wand the space of the heavens to be 
the field of observation, and divided it from top 
to bottom. ^ If the birds appeared on the left 
of the division the augury was unlucky, but if 
on the right it was favourable. 

This form of divination may have been due 
to the earliest sailors, who, if they got out of 
sight of land, would watch the flight of 
birds for indications of the shore. Cp. 

August This month was once called sextih's, 
as it was the sixth from March, with which the 
year used to open, but it was changed to 
Augustus in compliment to Augustus (63 B.C.- 
A.D. 14), the first Roman Emperor, whose 
'lucky month" it was. Cp. JULY. It was the 
month in which he entered upon his first 
consulship, celebrated three triumphs, received 
the oath of allegiance from the legions which 
occupied the Jamculum, reduced Egypt, and 
put an end to the civil wars. 

The old Dutch name for August was Oost- 
maand (harvest-month) ; the old Saxon Weod- 
monath (weed-month), where weed signifies 
vegetation in general. In the French Re- 
publican calendar it was called Thermidor 
(hot-month, July 19th to August 17th). 

Augustus. A title conferred in 27 B.C. upon 
Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the first Roman 
Emperor, meaning reverend, or venerable, and 
probably in origin consecrated by augury. In 
the reign of Diocletian (284-313) the two 
emperors each bore the title, and the two 
viceroys that of Ccesar. Prior to that time 
Hadrian limited the latter to the heir presump- 

Augustus was the name given to Philippe II 
of France (1165-1223) and to Sigismund II of 
Poland (1520-72) both of whom were born in 
the month of August. 

Augusta. The Roman name for the town 
that occupied the site of the City of London. 

Augustan Age. The most fruitful and splen- 
did time of Latin literature, so called from the 
Emperor Augustus. Horace, Ovid, Pro- 
pertius, Tibullus, Virgil, etc., flourished in his 
reign, from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. 

Augustan Age of English Literature. The 

period of the classical writers of the time of 
Queen Anne and George I. 

Augustan History. A series of histories of 
the Roman Empire from Hadrian to Numeri- 
anus (117-285), of unknown authorship and 
date, but ascribed to ^Elms Spartianus, Julius 
Capitolinus, ^Elius Lampridius, Vulcatius 
Gallicanus, Trebellius Pollio, and Flavius 

Augustine, The Second. Thomas Aquinas, the 
Angelic Doctor (q.v.}. 

Augustinian Canons. An order of monks 
founded in the 1 1th century by Ivo, Bishop of 
Chartres, and following the traditionary rule 
of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (d. 430). They 
came to England in the reign of Henry I, and 
had houses at Oxford, Bristol, Carlisle, 
Walsingham, Newstead, etc. 

Augustinian, or Austin, Friars. A mendicant 
order founded by Innocent IV in 1250; they 
came to England two years later. See 

Auld Brig and New Brig. Robert Burns thus 
refers to the bridges over the river Ayr. 

Auld Hornie. After the establishment of 
Christianity, the heathen deities were degraded 
by the Church into fallen angels; and Pan, with 
his horns, crooked nose, goat's beard, pointed 
ears, and goat's feet, was transformed to his 
Satanic majesty, and called Old Horney. 
O thou, whatever title suit thee, 
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie. 


Auld Reekie. Edinburgh old town; so 
called because it generally appeared to be 
capped by a cloud of "reek" or smoke. 
Aulic Council (Lat. aula, a court). The 
council of the Kaiser in the Holy Roman 
Empire, from which there was no appeal. It 
was instituted in 1501, and came to an end with 
the extinction of the Empire in 1806, though 
the name was afterwards given to the Emperor 
of Austria's Council of State. 

Aulis (aw' lis). A harbour in Boeotia where 
the Greek fleet is said to have assembled before 
sailing against Troy. The goddess Artemis 



Authentic Doctor 

becalmed the vessels because Agamemnon had 
once killed a stag in the grove sacred to her, and 
it was declared that she could be propitiated 
only by the sacrifice of Agamemnon's 
daughter Iphigema. The story is the subject 
of an opera (1774) by Gluck. . 

Aums-ace. See AMBSAS. 
Aunt Sally. A game m which sticks or cudgels 
are thrown at a wooden head mounted on a 
pole, the object being to hit the nose of the 
figure, or break the pipe stuck in its mouth. 
The word aunt was anciently applied to any 
old woman; thus, in Shakespeare, Puck speaks 

The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale. 

Midsummer Night's Dream, h, 1. 

Aureole. Strictly speaking the same as the 
vesica piscis (<?.v.), i.e. an elliptical halo of light 
or colour surrounding the whole figure in early 
paintings of the Saviour and sometimes of the 
saints. Now, however, frequently used as 
though synonymous with nimbus (<?.v.). Du 
Cange informs us that the aureole of nuns is 
white, of martyrs red, and of doctors green. 
Aurignacian (aw ng na' shim). An early palzeo- 
hthic period in which the graphic arts were 
developed, as evidenced in the grotto at 
Aungnac, Haute Garonne, France. Flint and 
bone instruments and ornaments belong to this 

Auri sacra fames (aw' n sak' ra fa' mez). A 
Latin "tag" from the ^Eneid (III, 57), meaning, 
the cursed hunger for wealth. It is applied to 
that restless craving for money which is almost 
a monomania. 

Aurora (aw ror' a). Early morning. Accord- 
ing to Grecian mythology, the goddess Aurora, 
called by Homer "rosy-fingered," sets out 
before the sun, and is the pioneer of his rising. 

The Orator hath yoked 
The Hours, like young Aurora, to his car. 

WORDSWORTH: Prelude, vii, 501. 

Aurora's tears. The morning dew. 
Aurora borealis. The electrical lights 
occasionally seen in the northern part of the 
sky; also called "Northern Lights," and 
"Merry Dancers." See DERVVENTWATER. 
The similar phenomenon that occurs in the 
south and round the South Pole is known as 
the Aurora Australis. 

Ausone, Chateau (aw son). A very fine claret, 
so called because the vineyard is reputed to be 
on the site of a villa built by the poet Ausonius 
(4th century A.D.) at Lucamacum (St. Emilion). 
Ausonia (aw so' m a). An ancient name of 
Italy: so called from Auson, son of Ulysses, 
and father of the Ausones. 

England, with all thy faults, I love thee still . . . 
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies, 
And fields without a flower for warmer France 
With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves 
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers. 

COWPER: The Task, ii, 206-15. 

Auspices (aw' spi sez). In ancient Rome the 
aiispex (pi. auspices, from avis, a bird and 
specere, to observe) was one who observed the 
flight of birds and interpreted the omens. Cp, 

Only the chief in command was allowed to 
take the auspices of war, and if a subordinate 

B.D. 3 

gained a victory, he was said to win it "under 
the good auspices" of his superior. Hence 
our modern use of the term. 

Aussie (aw' si, os'i). This was a familiar 
name given to the Australian troops during 
and after World War I, Among themselves 
a common colloquial epithet was "digger*" 

Auster (Gr. austeros, hot, dry). A wind 
pernicious to flowers and health. In Italy one 
of the South winds was so called ; its modern 
name is the Sirocco. In England it is a damp 
wind, generally bringing wet weather. 

Whan the wode wexeth rody of rosene floures, in 
the first somer sesoun, thorugh the brethe of the 
winde Zephirus that wexeth warm, yif the cloudy 
wind Auster blowe felliche, than goth awey the fair- 
nesse of thornes. 

CHAUCER: Boethius, II, iii. 

The narrow lane in the City of London of this 
name is so called because it is on part of the 
site of an Augustinian priory, the church of 
which remained until 1941 when it was 
destroyed by an aerial bomb. 

Australia. The States of Australia have their 
own familiar names: 

South Australia, the Wheat State. 

Queensland, Bananaiand. 

Victoria, the Cabbage Patch. 

Mew South Wales, Ma State. 

Northern Territory, Land of the White Ant. 

Among the cities, Perth is called The Swan 
City; Adelaide, The City of the Churches; 
Melbourne, City of the Cabbage Garden. 

Austrian Lip. No one who has seen portraits 
of the Spanish royal family of Hapsburgs can 
have failed to notice the curiously protruded 
lower jaw and lip that marked them all. This 
is one of the most famous cases of inherited 
physical deformities. It is said to have been 
derived originally through marriage with a 
daughter of the Polish princely family of 
Jagellon. Describing the Emperor Charles V, 
at the age of fifty-five, Motley says "the lower 
jaw protruded so far beyond the upper that it 
was impossible for him to bring together the 
few fragments of teeth which still remained, 
or to speak a whole sentence in an intelligible 
voice." Of Charles II of Spain, his descen- 
dant in the fourth generation, and the last of 
the Hapsburgs, Macaulay says, "the mal- 
formation of the jaw, characteristic of his 
family, was so serious that he could not 
masticate his food." 

Autarchy and Autarky (aw' tar ki). These 
homonyms have widely different meanings. 
Autarchy is despotism, self-government, abso- 
lute dictatorship; autarky means self-suffici- 
ency, independence, especially in the economic 

Aut Caesar aut nullus (awt se' sar awt mil' us) 
(Lat. either a Csesar or a nobody). Every- 
thing or nothing; all or not at all. ^xsar used 
to say, **he would sooner be first in a village 
than second at Rome." The phrase was used 
as a motto by Caesar Borgia (1478-1507), the 
natural son of Pope Alexander VI. 
Authentic Doctor. A title bestowed on the 
scholastic philosopher, Gregory of Rimini 
(d. 1358). 

Authorized Version 



Authorized Version, The. See BIBLE, THE 

Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. A name 
given to Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote a 
series of essays under this title for the first 
twelve numbers of the Atlantic Monthly in 
1857. They were published m volume form 
the following year. 

Auto da Fe (aw' to da fa) (Port, an act of faith). 
An assembly of the Spanish Inquisition for the 
examination of heretics, or for the carrying 
into execution of the sentences imposed by it. 
Th9se who persisted in their heresy were 
delivered to the secular arm and usually burnt. 
The reason why inquisitors burnt their victims 
was, because they were forbidden to "shed 
blood"; a tergiversation based on the axiom 
of the Roman Catholic Church, Ecdesia non 
novit sanguinem (The Church is untainted with 

Autolycus (awtol'ikus). In Greek mytho- 
logy, son of Mercury, and the craftiest of 
thieves. He stole the flocks of his neighbours, 
and changed their marks; but Sisyphus out- 
witted him by marking his sheep under their 
feet. Autplycus, delighted with this device, 
became friends with Sisyphus. Shakespeare 
uses his name for the rascally pedlar in The 
Winter's Tale, and says : 

My father named me Autolycus, who being, as I 
am, littered [I.e. born] under Mercury, was likewise 
a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. 

Winter's Tale> iv, 2. 

Automedon (aw torn' e don). A coachman. 
He was, according to Homer, the companion 
and the charioteer of Achilles, but according to 
Virgil the brother-in-arms of Achilles's son, 

Autumn. The third season of the year; 
astronomically, from September 21st to Decem- 
ber 21st, but popularly comprising (in England) 
August, September, and October. 

Figuratively the word may mean the fruits 
of autumn, as in Milton's: 

Raised of grassy turf 

Their table was, and mossy seats had round 
And on her ample square, from side to side, 
All autumn piled. 

Paradise Lost, v, 391. 

or, a season of maturity or decay, as in 

His limbs were lean; his scattered hair, 
Sered by the autumn of strange suffering, 
Sung dirges in the wind. 

Alastor, 248. 

He is come to his autumn. A colloquialism 
which may mean that he has entered on his 
period of (natural or induced) decay. 
Ava (a' va). A ruined city in Burma, situated 
on the Irawaddy, some 10 miles south-west of 
Mandalay. It was the capital of the Burman 
empire until 1782 and again from 1823 to 1837 
On being raised to the marquisate in 1888, the 
Earl of Dufferin, who had negotiated the 
annexation of Upper Burma, added the name 
of Ava to his title, becoming 1st Marquis of 
Duffenn and Ava. 

earthly paradise set in the western seas. In 
the Arthurian legends it is the abode and 
burial-place of Arthur, who was carried hither 
by Morgan le Fay. Its identification with 
Glastonbury (q.v.} rests on etymological con- 
fusion. >gier le Dane and Overon also held 
their courts at Avalon. 

Avant-courier (a' von kur' yer). An Angli- 
cized form of Fr. avant-coureur, a messenger 
sent before, one who is to get things ready for 
a party of travellers, soldiers, etc., or to 
announce their approach. Figuratively, any- 
thing said or done to prepare the way for 
something more important; a feeler, a har- 

Avant-garde (a' von gard) (Fr.). The ad- 
vanced guard of an army, usually nowadays 
cut down to vanguard. The term is also 
applied to ulta-modern and experimental 
young artists and writers. 

Avars. See BANAT. 

Avatar (Sans, avatara, descent; hence, in- 
carnation of a god). In Hindu mythology, 
the advent to earth of a deity in a visible form. 
The ten avataras of Vishnu are by far the most 
celebrated. The 1st advent (the Matsya), in the 
form of a fish; 2nd, (the Kurma), in that of a 
tortoise; 3rd (the Varaha), of a boar; 4th (the 
Narasinha), of a monster, half man and half 
lion; 5th (the Vamana), in the form of a dwarf; 
6th (Parashurama), in human form, as Rama 
with the axe; 7th (Ramachandra), again as 
Rama; 8th, as Krishna (#.v); 9th, as Buddha 
These are all past. The 10th advent will occur 
at the end of four ages, and will be in the form 
of a white horse (Kalki) with wings, to destroy 
the earth. 

The word is used metaphorically to denote a 
manifestation or embodiment of some idea or 

I would take the last years of Queen Anne's reign 
as the zenith, or palmy state, of Whiggism, in its 
divinest avatar of common sense. 

COLERIDGE: Table-talk. 
Ave (a' vi, a' va). Latin for "Hail!" 
Ave atque vale. See VALE. 
Ave Maria (Lat. Hail, Mary!). The first 
two words of the angel's salutation to the 
Virgin Mary (Luke i, 28). In the Roman 
Catholic Church the phrase is applied to an 
invocation to the Virgin beginning with those 
words; and also to the smaller beads of a 
rosary, the larger ones being termed pater- 

Avalon (av' a Ion). A Celtic word meaning 
me island of apples," and in Celtic myth- 
ology applied to the Island of Blessed Souls an 

Avenger of Blood, The. The man who, in the 
Jewish polity, had the right of taking vengeance 
on him who had slain one of his kinsmen 
(Josh, xx, 5, etc.). The Avenger in Hebrew is 
called goal 

Cities of refuge were appointed for the 
protection of homicides, and of those who had 
caused another's death by accident. (Num. 
xxxv, 12.). The Koran sanctions the Jewish 


Avernus (a ver' nus) (Gr. a-ornis, "without a 

Si i?V L ake in Cam P ani a, so called from 
the belief that its sulphurous and mephitic 
vapours caused any bird that attempted to fly 



Ayrshire Poet 

over it to fall into its waters. Latin mythology 
placed the entrance to the infernal regions near 
it; hence Virgil's lines: 

Facilis decensus Averno 
Noctes atque dies patet atn janua Ditis; 
Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras, 
Hoc opus, hie labor est. 

JEneid, vi, 126. 
Englished by Dryden as follows: 

Smooth the descent and easy is the way 
(The Gates of Hell stand open night and day); 
But to return, and view the cheerful skies, 
In this the task and mighty labour lies. 
Bad habits are easily acquired, but very hard 
to give up. 

A vesta (a ves' ta). The Zoroastrian and Par- 
see Bible, dating in its present form from the 
last quarter of the 4th century, A.D., collected 
from the ancient writings, sermons, etc., of 
Zoroaster (fl. before 800 B.C.), oral traditions, 
etc. It is only a fragment, and consists of 
(1) the Yasna, the chief liturgical portion, 
which includes Gathas : or hymns; (2) the 
Vispered, another liturgical work; (3) the Ven- 
didad, which, like our Pentateuch, contains 
the laws; (4) the Yashts, dealing with stories of 
the different gods; together with prayers and 
other fragments. 

The books are sometimes erroneously called 
the Zend-Avesta; this is a topsy-turvy mis- 
understanding of the term "Avesta-Zend," 
which means simply "text and commentary." 

A\ianus (av i a' niis). A writer of imitations of 
^Esop's fables in the decline of the Roman 
Empire. In the Middle Ages they were used 
as a first lesson book in schools. 

Avicenna. See ABOU IBN SINA. 

Avignon Popes (ave'nyon). In 1309 Pope 
Clement V left Rome and transferred the papal 
court to Avignon, where the popes remained 
for seventy years of strife and confusion. The 
Avignon popes were: 

Clement V 1305-1314 Innocent VI 1352-1362 
John XXII 1316-1334 Urban V 1362-1370 

Benedict XII 1334-1342 Gregory XI 1370-1378 

Clement VI 1342-1352 

A vinculo matrimonii (a ving' ku 15 mat ri mo 
m I) (Lat.). A total divorce from marriage 
ties. A divorce a memo, et thoro (i.e. from 
table and bed from bed and board) is partial, 
because the parties may, if they choose, come 
together again; but a divorce a vinculo 
matrimonii is granted in cases in which the 
"marriage" was never legal owing to a pre- 
contract (bigamy), consanguinity, or affinity. 

Avoid Extremes. A traditional saying of 
Pittacus of Mitylene (652-569 B.C.), one of the 
seven Wise Men of Greece. It is echoed in 
many writers and literatures. Compare the 
advice given by Phoebus to Phaethon when he 
was preparing to drive the chariot of the sun: 
Medio tutissimus ibis (You will go more safely in 
the middle). OVID: Met, ii, 137. 

Avoirdupois (av' er du poiz). Fr. avoir, aver 
or avier, goods in general, and poise = poids 
(weight). Not the verb, but the noun avoir. 
Properly avoir de poids (goods having weight), 
goods sold by weight. There is an obsolete 
English word aver, meaning goods in general, 
hence also cattle; whence such compounds as 
over-corn, over-penny, over-silver and over-land. 

Awar. One of the sons of Eblis (<?.v.). 
A-weather. A sailor's term; towards the 
weather, or the side on which the wind strikes, 
the reverse of a-Iee, which is in the lee or 
shelter, and therefore opposite to the wind side. 
Awkward Squad. Military recruits not yet 
fitted to take their place in the ranks. 

A "squad" is a contraction of "squadron." 
Awl. "I'll pack up my awls and be gone," 
i.e. all my goods. The play is on awl and all. 
Axe. To hang up one's axe. To retire from 
business, to give over a useless project. 
The allusion is to the battle-axe, formerly 
devoted to the gods and hung up when fighting 
was over. See ASK. 

To put the axe on the helve. To solve a 
difficulty. To hit the right nail on the head. 

To send the axe after the helve. To spend 
money in the hope of recovering bad debts. 

He has an axe to grind. Some selfish motive 
in the background; some personal interest to 
answer. Franklin tells of a man who wanted 
to grind his axe, but had no time to turn the 
grindstone. Going to the yard where he saw 
young Franklin, he asked the boy to show him 
how the machine worked, kept praising him 
till his axe was ground, and then laughed 
at him for his pains. 

Ajdnoraancy (aks' in 6 man' si). A method of 
divination practised by the ancient Greeks 
with a view to discovering crime. An agate, 
or piece of jet, was placed on a red-hot axe, 
and indicated the guilty person by its motion 
(Gr. axine manteid). 

Axis. The term used by the Fascist states of 
Central Europe, in the sense of an alliance. 

It was first used by Mussolini, in 1936 in 
a speech in which he declared the German- 
Italian agreement to be "an axis round which 
all European states animated by the will to 
collaboration and peace can also assemble." 

Axis of advance. A military term for the 
road or track running through an area to be 
attacked and used by the attackers to maintain 

Ayah (f ya). Now an Anglo-Indian word, but 
originally Portuguese. A native Hindu nurse 
or lady's maid. 

Ayeshah (I yesh' a). Mohammed's second and 
favourite wife. He married her when she was 
only nine years old, and died in her arms. She 
was born about 611 and died about 678. 
Aymon, The Four Sons of (a' mon). Aymon is 
a semi-mythical hero, and was father of 
Reynaud (or Rinaldo, <?.v.), Guiscard, Alard, 
and Richard, all of whom were knighted by 
Charlemagne. The earliest version was prob- 
ably compiled by Huon de Villeneuve from 
earlier chansons in the 13th century. The 
brothers, and their famous horse Bayard (#.v.), 
appear in many poems and romances, includ- 
ing Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, Pulci's 
Morgante Maggiore, Boiardo's Orlando Inna- 
morato, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, etc., and 
the story formed the basis of a number of 
French chap-books. 

Ayrshire Poet. Robert Burns (1759-96), who 
was born at Alloway near the town of Ayr. 




Azazel (a zaz' el). In Lev. xvi we read that 
among other ceremonies the high priest, on the 
Day of Atonement, cast lots on two goats; one 
lot was for the Lord, and the other lot for 
Azazel. Milton uses the name for the 
standard-bearer of the rebel angels (Paradise 
Lost, i, 534). In Mohammedan legend, Azazel 
is a jinn of the desert; when God commanded 
the angels to worship Adam, Azazel replied, 
"Why should the son of fire fall down before 
a son of clay?" and God cast him out of 
heaven. His name was then changed to Eblk 
(#.v.), which means ''despair/' 
Azaziel (a zaz' i el). In Byron's Heaven and 
Earth, a seraph who fell in love with Anah, a 
granddaughter of Cain. When the flood came, 
he carried her under his wing to another planet. 

Azilian (a ziT i an). The main period of the 
Mesolithic Age, of which many harpoons made 
from stag bones have been found in the 
Pyrennean cave at Mas Azil. 

Azoth (az'oth) (Arab.). The alchemists' name 
for mercury; also the panacea or universal 
remedy of .Paracelsus. Browning, in his poem 
Paracelsus (Bk. v), gives the name to Paracel- 
sus's sword. 

Last, my good sword; ah, trusty, Azoth, leapest 
Beneath thy master's grasp for the last time? 

Azrael (az' ral). In Mohammedan legend, the 
angel that watches ovei the dying, and takes 
the soul from the body; the angel of death. 
He will be the last to die, but will do so at the 
second trump of the archangel. See ADAM. 

The Wings of Azrael. The approach of 
death; the signs of death coming on the dying. 

Azrafil. See ISRAFIL. 

Aztecs (az' teks). A branch of the Nahuatl 
Indians who came (probably) from the north- 
west and settled in the valley of Mexico about 
the 1 1th or 12th century, and ultimately subju- 
gated the aborigines. A wealthy and highly 
civilized people renowned for their building. 
Their power was brought to an end by the 
Spaniards under Cortes between 1519 and 1 530. 

Azure (azh/ fir, a' zur). Heraldic term for the 
colour blue. Represented in royal arms by 
the planet Jupiter, in noblemen's by the 
sapphire. The ground of the old shield of 
France was azure. Emblem of fidelity and 
truth. Represented in heraldic devices by 
horizontal lines. Ultimately Arabic or Per- 
sian, and connected with "lapis lazuli" for 
which the word "azure" used to stand. Also 
used as a synonym for the clear, blue sky 



B. The form of the Roman capital "B" can 
be traced through early Greek to Phoenician and 
Egyptian hieratic; the small "b" is derived 
from the cursive form of the capital. The 
letter is called in Hebrew beth (a house); in 
Egyptian hieroglyphics it was represented by 
the crane. 

B in Roman notation stands for 300; with a 
line above, it denotes 3,000. 

Marked with a B. In the Middle Ages, and 
as late as the 17th century (especially in 
America), this letter was branded on the fore- 
head of convicted blasphemers. In France 
Stre matque an "6" means to be either one- 
eyed, hump-backed, or lame (borgne, bossu, 
boiteux); hence, a poor, miserable sort of 

Not to know B from a battledore, or from a 
bull's foot. To be quite illiterate, not to know 
even one's letters. Conversely, / know BJiom 
a bulVs foot, means "I'm a sharp, knowing 
person; you can't catch me!" Cp. HAWK and 

B. and S. Brandy and soda. 
B.C. In dates an abbreviation for "Before 
Christ," before the Christian era. 

Marked with B.C. When a soldier dis- 
graced himself by insubordination he was 
formerly marked with "B.C." (bad character) 
before he was drummed out of the regiment. 
B Flats. Bugs; which obnoxious insects are 
characterized by their flatness. 
B. of B. K. Some mysterious initials applied 
to himself in his diary by Arthur Orton, "the 
Tichborne Claimant." Supposed to denote 
"Baronet of British Kingdom.'* For some 
time it was a phrase applied popularly to any- 
one who put on airs. 

Baal. A Semitic word meaning proprietor or 
possessor, primarily the title of a god as lord of 
a place (e.g. Baal-peor, lord of Peor), or as 
possessor of some distinctive characteristic or 
attribute (e.g. Baal-zebub, or Beelzebub, q.v.), 
The worship of the Baals for each village 
community had its own was firmly established 
in Canaan at the time of the Israelites' in- 
cursion; the latter adopted many of the 
Canaanitish rites, and grafted them on to their 
own worship of Jahwe (Jehovah), Jahwe be- 
coming especially when worshipped at the 
"high places" merely the national Baal. It 
was this form of worship that Hosea and other 
prophets denounced as heathenism. Bel (<?.v.) 
is the Assyrian form of the name. See also 

Baalbec. See CHILMINAR. 

Babau (ba bo). A French bogeyman, once 
used to terrify unruly children. 

Babbitt (baV it). The leading character in 
Sinclair Lewis's novel of this name. He is a 
prosperous "realtor" or estate agent in the 
Western city of Zenith, a simple, likeable 
fellow, with faint aspirations to culture that 
are forever smothered in the froth and futile 
"hustle" of American business life. Drive 
(which takes him nowhere), hustle (by which 
he saves no time) and efficiency (which docs 
not enable him to do anything) are the key- 
notes of his life. Babbitt has been accepted 
as the type of an American business man. 

Babel. A perfect Babel. A thorough con- 
fusion. "A Babel of sounds." A confused 
uproar, in which nothing can be heard but 
hubbub. The allusion is to the confusion of 
tongues at Babel (Gen. xi). 

Babes in the Wood 



Babes in the Wood. See CHILDREN. The 
phrase has been humorously applied to (1) 
simple trustful folks, never suspicious, and 
easily gulled; (2) insurrectionary hordes that 
infested the mountains of Wicklow and the 
woods of Enniscorthy towards the close of the 
18th century; and (3) men in the stocks or in 
the pillory. 

Babes, Protecting deities of. According to 
Varro, Roman infants were looked after by 
Vagitanus, the god who caused them to utter 
their first cry; Fabulinus, who presided over 
their speech; Cuba, the goddess who protected 
them in their cots; and Domiduca, who 
brought young children safe home, and kept 
guard over them when out of their parents* 
sight. In the Christian Church St. Nicholas is 
the patron saint of children. 

Babies in the Eyes. Love in the expression of 
the eyes. Love is the little babe Cupid, and 
hence the conceit, originating from the 
miniature image of oneself in the pupil of 
another's eyes. 

In each of her two ciystal eyes 
Smileth a naked boy [Cupid]. 

LORD Strain Y. 

She clung about his neck, gave him ten kisses, 
Toyed with his locks, looked babies in his eyes. 
HEYWOOD: Love's Mistress. 

Babylon (bab'ilon). The Modern Babylon. 

So London is sometimes called, on account of 
its wealth, luxury, and dissipation; also (with 
allusion to Babel) because of the many nation- 
alities that meet, and languages that are spoken 

The hanging gardens of Babylon. See 

The whore of Babylon. An epithet bestowed 
on the Roman Catholic Church by the early 
Puritans and some of their descendants. The 
allusion is to Rev. xvn-xix. (Cp. SCARLET 
WOMAN.) In the book of the Revelation 
Babylon stands for Rome, the capital of the 
world, the embodiment of luxury, vice, splen- 
dour, tyranny, and all that the early Church 
knew was against the spirit of Christ. 

Babylonian Captivity. The seventy years 
that the Jews were captives in Babylon. They 
were made captives by Nebuchadnezzar, and 
released by Cyrus (536 B.C.). 

Babylonian numbers. N-ec Babylonios temp- 
tans numeros (Horace: Odes, Bk. i, xi, 2). Do 
not pry into futurity by astrological calcula- 
tions and horoscopes. Do not consult 
fortune-tellers. The Chaldeans were the most 
noted of astrologers. 

Babylonish garment, A. Babylonica vestis, 
a garment woven with divers colours. Pliny, 
viii, 74. , 

I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment. 

Josh., vii, 21. 

Baca, The yalley of (ba' ka). An unidentified 
place mentioned in Ps. Ixxxiv, 6, meaning the 
Valley of Weeping, and so translated in the 
Revised Version. Baca trees were either mul- 
berry trees or balsams. 

Bacbuc (bak' buc). A Chaldean or Assyrian 
word for an earthenware pitcher, cruse, or 
bottle, taken by Rabelais as the name of the 

Oracle of the Holy Bottle (and of its priestess), 
to which Pantagruel and his companions made 
a famous voyage. The question to be pro- 
posed was whether or not Panurge ought to 
marry. The Holy Bottle answered with a click 
like the noise made by a glass snapping. 
Bacbuc told Panurge the noise meant trine 
(drink), and that was the response, the most 
direct and positive ever given by the oracle. 
Panurge might interpret it as he liked, the 
obscurity would always save the oracle. See 

Bacchus (bak' iis). In Roman mythology, the 
god of wine, the Dionysus of the Greeks, son 
of Zeus and Semele. He is represented in 
early an as a bearded man and completely clad, 
but after the time of Praxiteles as a beautiful 
youth with black eyes, golden locks, flowing 
with curls about his shoulders, and filleted 
with ivy. In peace his robe was purple, in war 
he was covered with a panther's skin. His 
chariot was drawn by panthers. 

In the famous statue in Rome he has a 
bunch of grapes in his hand and a panther at 
his feet. Pliny tells us that, after his conquest 
of India, Bacchus entered Thebes in a chariot 
drawn by elephants, and, according to some 
accounts, he married Ariadne after Theseus 
had deserted her in Naxos 

The name "Bacchus" is a corruption of 
Gr. Jacchus (from lache, a shout), and was 
originally merely an epithet of Dionysus as the 
noisy or rowdy god. 

As jolly Bacchus, god of pleasure, 

Charmed the wide world with drink and dances, 

And all his thousand any fancies. 


Bacchus sprang from the thigh of Zeus, The 
tale is that Semele, at the suggestion of Juno, 
asked Zeus to appear before her in all his glory, 
but the foolish request proved her death. 
Zeus saved the child which was prematurely 
born by sewing it up in his thigh till it came to 

What has that to do with Bacchus? i.e. what 
has that to do with the matter in hand ? When 
Thespis introduced recitations in the vintage 
songs, the innovation was suffered to pass, so 
long as the subject of recitation bore on the 
exploits of Bacchus; but when, for variety's 
sake, he wandered to other subjects, the Greeks 
pulled him up with the exclamation, " What 
has that to do with Bacchus? " 

Bacchus a noy plus d*hommes que Neptune. 

The ale-house wrecks more men than the 

A priest, or son, of Bacchus. A toper. 

Bacchus, in the Lusiad, is the evil demon or 
antagonist of Jupiter, the lord of destiny. As 
Mars is the guardian power of Christianity, 
Bacchus is the guardian power of Moham- 

Bacchanalia. The triennial festivals held at 
night in Rome in honour of Bacchus, called in 
Greece Dionysia, Dionysus being the Greek 
equivalent of Bacchus. In Rome, and in later 
times in Greece, they were characterized by 
drunkenness, debauchery, and licentiousness of 
all kinds; but originally they were very differ- 
ent and were of greater importance than any 




other ancient festival on account of their 
connexion with the origin and development of 
the drama; for in Attica, at the Dionysia 
choragic literary contests were held, and from 
these both tragedy and comedy originated. 
Hence bacchanalian* drunken. The terms are 
now applied to any drunken and convivial 
orgy on the grand scale. 

Bacchanals (bilk' & nalz) (see also BAG o' 
NAILS), Bacchants r , Bacchantes. Priests and 
priestesses, or male and female votaries, of 
Bacchus; hence, a drunken roysterer. 

Bacchante (ba kan' ti). A female wine- 
bibber; so called from the "bacchantes," or 
female priestesses of Bacchus. They wore 
fillets of ivy. 

Bacharach (bak' a rak). A brand of Rhine 
wine made in this small Rhenish town some 
23 miles south of Coblentz. It once enjoyed 
great popularity in England and the name 
appears in many forms in Elizabethan and 
later literature backrack, backrag, baccharic, 

I'm for no tongues but dry'd ones, such as will 

Give a fine relish to my backrag. 

MAYNE: The City Match (1629). 

Good backrack ... to drink down in healths. 
FLETCHER. Beggar's Bush. 

Bachelor. A man who has not been married. 
This is a word whose ultimate etymology is 
unknown; it is from O.Fr. bacheler, which is 
from a late Latin word baccalaris. This last 
may be merely a translation of the French 
word, as it is only of rare and very late 
occurrence, but it may be allied to baccalarius, 
a late Latin adjective applied to farm labourers, 
the history of which is very doubtful. 

In the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (I, 
80), Chaucer uses the word m its old sense of a 
knight not old enough to display his own 
banner, and so following that of another: 

With him ther was his sone, a young Squyer, 

A lovyere, and a lusty bachelor. 

Taxes on bachelors. By an Act of 1694 a 
tax was imposed on unmarried male persons 
above the age of twenty-five, varying in amount 
from 12 10j. to Is. according to the tax- 
payer's status. It was repealed in 1706. In 
1785 bachelors' servants were subjected to a 
higher tax than those of other persons. In the 
graduated Income Tax designed by Pitt in 
1799 the rate for bachelors was higher than for 
married men. In the existing Income Tax 
system a bachelor pays at a higher rate than a 
married man by having no allowances for wife, 
children, etc. 

Bachelor of Arts. A student who has taken 
the university degree below that of Master. 

Bachelor of Salamanca. The last novel of 
Le Sage (published in 1736); the hero is a 
bachelor of arts, Don Cherubin de la Ronda; 
he is placed in different situations of life, and 
associates with all classes of society. 

Bachelor's buttons. Several flowers are so 
called. Red batchelor's buttons, the double 
red campion; yellow, the upright crowfoot; 
white, the white ranunculus, or white campion. 
The similitude these flowers have to the jagged 
cloath buttons anciently worne . . . gave occasion 
... to call them Bachelor's Buttons. 

GERARD: Herbal. 

Or the phrase may come from a custpm 
sometimes observed by countrymen of carrying 
the flower in their pockets to know how they 
stand with their sweethearts. If the flower 
dies, it is a bad omen ; but if it does not fade, 
they may hope for the best. 

Bachelor's fare. Bread and cheese and 

Bachelor's porch. An old name for the 
north door of a church. Menservants and 
poor men used to sit on benches down the 
north aisle, and maidservants and poor women 
on the south side. After service the men 
formed one line and the women another, down 
which the clergy and gentry passed. 

Bachelor's wife. A hypothetical ideal or 
perfect wife. 

Bachelors' wives and maids' children be well taught. 
HEYWOOD: Proverbs. 

Back, To. To support with money, influence, 
or encouragement; as to "back a friend"; 
to lay money on a horse in a race, "backing" 
it to win or for a place. 

A commercial term, meaning to endorse. 
When a merchant backs or endorses a bill, he 
guarantees its value. 

Falstaff says to the Prince: 

You care not who sees your back. Call you that 
backing of your friends? A plague upon such 

I Henry IV, ii, 4. 

Back-of-beyond. A phrase originating in 
Australia to describe the wide inland spaces, 
the great Outback. The phrase backblpck is 
found in 1850, referring to those vast territories 
divided up by the government into blocks for 

Back the oars, or back water, is to row back- 
wards, that the boat may move the reverse of 
Its ordinary direction. 

Back and edge. Entirely, heartily, tooth and 
nail, with might and main. The reference is, 
perhaps, to a wedge driven home to split wood. 
They were working back and edge for me. 
BOLDREWOOD: Robbery under Arms, ch. ii. 

Laid on one's back. Laid up with chronic 
ill-health; helpless. 

Thrown on his back. Completely beaten. 
A figure taken from wrestling. 

To back and fill. A nautical phrase, 
denoting a mode of tacking when the tide is 
with the vessel and the wind against it. 
Metaphorically, to be irresolute. 

To back out. To withdraw from an engage- 
ment, bargain, etc.; to retreat from a difficult 

To back the field. To bet on all the horses 
bar one. 

To back the sails. So to arrange them that 
the ship's way may be checked. 

To back up. To uphold, to support. As 
one who stands at your back to support you. 
An advance by the batsman not taking strike 
at cricket in order to be ready to take a quick 
run if the striker makes an opportunity. 

To break the back of. To finish the hardest 
part of one's work. 




To get one's back up. To be irritated. The 
allusion is to a cat, which sets its back up when 
attacked by a dog or other animal. 

To go back on one's word. To withdraw 
what one has said; to refuse to perform what 
one has promised. To go back on a person is 
to betray him. 

To have one's back to the wall. To act on 
the defensive against odds. One beset with 
foes tries to get his back against a wall that he 
may not be attacked by foes behind. 

To see his back ; to see the back of anything. 
To get rid of a person or thing; to see it leave. 

To take a back seat. To withdraw from a 
position one has occupied or attempted to 
occupy; to retire into obscurity, usually as a 
confession of failure. 
To the back. To the backbone, entirely. 
To turn one's back on another. To leave, 
forsake, or neglect one. To leave him by 
going away. 

Backbite, To. To slander behind one's 

To be prynces in pryde and pouerte to despise 
To backbite, and to bosten and bere fals witnesse. 
Piers Plowman. 
He that backbiteth not with his tongue. 

Psalm xv, 3. 

Backgammon. The A.S. bac gamen (back 
game), so called because the pieces (in certain 
circumstances) are taken up and obliged to go 
back to enter at the table again. 

Back-hander. A blow with the back of the 
hand. Also one who takes back the decanter 
in order to hand himself another glass before 
the decanter is passed on. 

I'll take a back-hander, as Clive don't seem to drink. 
THACKERAY: The Newcomes, ch. xliii. 

A back-handed compliment: a compliment 
which is so phrased as to imply an insult. 

Backroom boys. A name given familiarly to 
the scientists and others who, unknown to 
the general public, devised and developed in 
their studies and laboratories methods of 
scientific warfare. The name has since been 
applied generally to such unknown workers in 
all branches of technology. 

Back-slang. A species of slang which con- 
sists in pronouncing the word as though spelt 
backwards. Thus police becomes ecilop 
(hence the term slop for a policeman), par- 
snips, spinsrap, and so on. It was formerly 
much used by "flash" Cockneys, thieves, etc. 

Back-speir, To. To cross-examine. (Scots.) 

He has the wit to lay the scene in such a remote 
. . . country that nobody should be able to back- 

speir him. , , 

SCOTT: The Betrothed. 

Backstairs influence. Private or unrecog- 
nized influence, especially at Court. Royal 
palaces have more than one staircase, and 
those who sought the sovereign upon private 
matters would use one in an unobtrusive 
position; it was, therefore, highly desirable 
to conciliate the servants or underlings in 
charge of the "back stairs." 

Hence, backstairs gossip, tittle-tattle ob- 
tained from servants; backstairs plots, or 
politics, underground or clandestine intrigue. 

Backward blessing. A curse. To say the 
Lord's Prayer backwards was to invoke the 

Backwardation. A Stock Exchange term 
denoting the sum paid by a speculator on a 
"bear account" (i.e. a speculation on a fall 
in the price of certain stock), in order to post- 
pone the completion of the transaction till the 
next settling day. Cp. CONTANGO. 

Backwater. This means properly a pool or 
creek of still water fed indirectly by a river or 
stream. It has come to mean figuratively any 
state in which one is isolated from the active 
flow of life. 

Bacon. To baste your bacon. To strike or 
scourge one. Bacon is the outside portion of 
the sides of pork, and may be considered 
generally as the part which would receive a 

Falstaff's remark to the travellers at Gads- 
hill, "On, bacons, on!" (1 Henry IV, ii, 2) 
is an allusion to the fact that formerly swine's 
flesh formed the staple food of English rustics; 
hence such terms as bacon-brains and chaw- 
bacon for a clownish blockhead. 

To bring home the bacon. To bring back 
the prize; to succeed. This phrase may have 
originated in reference to the contest for the 
Dunmow flitch, or to the sport of catching a 
greased pig at country fairs. 

To save one's bacon. To save oneself from 
injury ; to escape loss. The allusion may be to 
the care taken by our forefathers to save from 
the numerous dogs that frequented their 
houses the bacon which was laid up for winter. 
But here I say the Turks were much mistaken, 
Who, hating hogs, yet wished to save their bacon. 
BYRON: Don Juan, vii, 42. 

He may fetch a flitch of bacon from Dunmow. 

He is so amiable and good-tempered^ he will 
never quarrel with his wife. The allusion is to 
the Dunmow Flitch. See DUNMOW. 

Baconian Philosophy. A system of philosophy 
based on principles laid down by Francis 
Bacon, Lord Verulam, in the 2nd book of his 
Novum Organum. It is also called inductive 

Baconian Theory. The theory that Lord 
Bacon wrote the plays attributed to Shake- 

Bacon's Brazen Head. See BRAZEN HEAD. 
Bactrian Sage. Zoroaster, or Zarathrusthra, 
the founder of the Perso-Iranian religion, who 
is supposed to have flourished in Bactria (the 
modern Balkh) before 800 B.C. 
Bad. Among rulers surnamed "The Bad" 
are William I, King of Sicily from 1154 to 
1166, Albert, Landgrave of Thurmgia and 
Margrave of Meisen (d. 1314), and Charles II, 
King of Navarre (1332-87). 

Bad blood. Vindictiveness, ill-feeling; 
hence, to make bad blood, or to stir up bad 
blood, to create or renew ill-feeling and a 
vindictive spirit. 

You are in my bad books. See BLACK 

Bad debts 


Bad debts. Debts not likely to be paid. 
Bad egg. A disreputable character; a 
thoroughly bad fellow. 

A bad excuse is better than none. An adage 
that first appeared in Nicolas Udall's Ralph 
Roister Bolster (1541), the first comedy written 
for the English stage. 

Bad form. Not in good taste. 

The Bad Lands. In America, the Mauvaises 
Terres of the early French settlers west of 
Missouri; extensive tracts of sterile, alkali 
hills, rocky, desolate, and almost destitute of 
vegetation, in South Dakota. 

A bad lot. A person of bad moral character, 
or one commercially unsound. Also a com- 
mercial project or stock of worthless value. 
Perhaps from auctioneering slang, meaning a 
lot which no one will bid for. 

A bad shot. A wrong guess, A sporting 
phrase; a bad shot is one which doesiiot bring 
down the bird shot at, one that misses the 

He is gone to the bad. Has become a 
ruined man, or a depraved character. He is 
mixing with bad companions, has acquired bad 
habits, or is (usually implying "through his 
own fault") in bad circumstances. 

To the bad. On the wrong side of the 
account; in arrears. 

Badge-men. Licensed beggars, or almshouse 
men; so called because they wore some special 
dress, or other badge, to indicate that they 
belonged to a particular foundation. 

He quits the gay and rich, the young and free, 
Among the badge-men with a badge to be. 

CRAB BE. Borough. 

In former times those who received parish 
relief also had to wear a badge. It was the 
letter P, with the initial of the parish to which 
they belonged, in red or blue cloth, on the 
shoulder of the right sleeve. See DYVOUR. 

Badger, A. A hawker, huckster, or itinerant 
dealer, especially in corn, but also in butter, 
eggs, fish, etc. The word is still in use in some 
dialects: its derivation is not certainly known, 
but it is not in any way connected with a badge 
worn. Fuller derived it from Lat. bajulare, to 
carry, but there is no substantiation for this. 
The modern hawker's licence dates from the 
licences that badgers had to obtain from a 
Justice under Act 5 and 6 Edw. VI, c. 14, 7, 

Under Dec. 17, 1565, we read of" Certain persons 
upon Humber side who . . . buy great quantities of 
corn, two of whom were authorised badgers." 

State Papers (Domestic Series). 

To badger. To tease, annoy, or persistently 
importune, in allusion to badger-baiting. A 
badger was kennelled in a tub, where dogs were 
set upon him to worry him out. When 
dragged from his tub the poor beast was 
allowed to retire to it till he recovered from 
the attack. This process was repeated several 

It is a vulgar error that the legs of a badger 
are shorter on one side than on the other. 
I think that Titus Oates was as uneven as a badger. 


Drawing a badger, is drawing him out of his 

tub by means of dogs. 

In the U.S.A. badger is the slang name of an 
inhabitant of Wisconsin. 

Badinguet (ba' din ga). A nickname given to 
Napoleon III. It is said to be the name of the 
workman whose clothes he wore when he 
contrived to escape from the fortress of Ham, 
in 1846. 

If Badinguet and Bismarck have a row together 
let them settle it between them with their fists, 
instead of troubling hundreds of thousands of men 
who . . . have no wish to fight. 

ZOLA: The Downfall, ch. ii. 

Napoleon's adherents were known as JBadin- 

Badminton (bad' min ton). The country seat 
of the Dukes of Beaufort in Gloucestershire. 
It has given its name to a drink and a game. 
The drink is a claret-cup made of claret, sugar, 
spices, soda-water, and ice. In pugilistic 
parlance blood, which is sometimes called 
"claret" (q.v.), is also sometimes called 
"badminton," from the colour. 

The game badminton is a predecessor of, 
and is similar to, lawn tennis; it is played with 
shuttlecocks instead of balls. 

Badoura (ba doo' ra). " The most beautiful 
woman ever seen upon earth," heroine of the 
story of Camaralzaman and Badoura in the 
Arabian Nights. 

Baedeker (ba x de ker). Starred in Baedeker. 

For many years tourists the world over have 
flocked to places of interest, red guide-book in 
hand. Karl Baedeker (1801-59) brought out 
his first guide-book (to Holland, Belgium and 
the Rhine) by arrangement with Mr. John 
Murray in 1839. In subsequent years he and 
his agents wrote exhaustive guide-works of 
almost every part of the world. Baedeker 
inaugurated the somewhat invidious and not 
always reliable system of marking with one or 
more stars objects and places of interest 
according to their historic or aesthetic im- 

Baedeker Raids. A phrase first used in 
Britain April 29th, 1942, to describe German 
air raids which, in reprisal for damage done to 
Cologne and Lubeck, were deliberately 
directed on historic monuments (e.g. Bath, 
Canterbury, Norwich) listed as such in Baede- 
ker's guide. 

Baffle. Originally a punishment meted out to 
a recreant or traitorous knight by which he was 
degraded and thoroughly disgraced, part of 
which seems to have consisted m hanging him 
or his effigy by the heels from a tree and loudly 
proclaiming his misdeeds. See Spenser's 
Faerie Queene, VI, vii, 26 : 

Letting him arise like abject thrall 
He gan to him object his haynous crime, 
And to revile, and rate, and recreant call, 
And lastly to despoyle of knightly bannerall 
And after all, for greater infamie, 
He by the heeles he hung upon a tree. 
And baffuld so, that all which passed by, 
The picture of his punishment might see, 
And by the like ensample warned bee 
How ever they through treason doe trespasse. 
Bag and Baggage, as "Get away with you, bag 
and baggage," i.e. get away, and carry with 


you all your belongings. Originally a military 
phrase signifying the whole property and 
stores of an army and of the soldiers compos- 
ing it. Hence the bag and baggage policy. In 
1876 Gladstone, speaking on the Eastern 
question, said, "Let the Turks now carry away 
their abuses in the only possible manner, 
namely, by carrying away themselves. ... One 
and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear 
out from the province they have desolated and 
profaned." See also BAGGAGE. 

A bag of bones. Very emaciated ; generally 
"A mere bag of bones." 

Bag o' Nails. Corruption of Bacchanals. 
A not uncommon inn-sign, The Devil and the 
Bag o* Nails, represents Pan, with his cloven 
hoofs and his horns, accompanied by satyrs. 

A bag of tricks, or the whole bag of tricks. 
The whole lot, the entire collection. This is 
an allusion to the conjuror's bag in which he 
carries the various properties and impedimenta 
for performing his tricks. 

The bottom of the bag. The last expedient, 
having emptied every other one out of one's 
bag, a trump card held in reserve, 

In the bag. As good as certain. 

To be left holding the bag. To have one's 
comrades decamp or withdraw leaving one 
with the entire onus of what was originally a 
group responsibility. 

To empty the bag. To tell the whole matter 
and conceal nothing (Fr. vider le sac, to expose 
all to view). 

To give the bag, now means the same as 
to give the sack (see SACK), but it seems 
originally to have had the reverse meaning; 
a servant or employee leaving without having 
given notice was said to have given his master 
"the bag." 

To let the cat out of the bag. See u nder CAT. 

To bag. Secure for oneself; probably an 
extension of the sporting use of the word, 
meaning, to put into one's bag what one has 
shot, caught, or trapped. Hence, a good bag, 
a large catch of game, fish, or other animals 
sought after by sportsmen. 

Bag-man, A. A commercial traveller, who 
carries a bag with samples to show to those 
whose custom he solicits. In former times 
commercial travellers used to ride a horse with 
saddle-bags sometimes so large as almost to 
conceal the rider. 

Bags I. See FAINS. 

Bags. Slang for "trousers," which may be 
taken as the bags of the body. When the 
pattern was very staring and "loud," they 
once were called howling-bags. 

Oxford bags are wide-bottomed flannel 

Bags of mystery. Slang for sausages or 
saveloys ; the allusion is obvious. 
Baga de Secretis. Records in the Record 
Office of trials for high treason and other State 
offences from the reign of Edward IV to the 
close of the reign of George III. These 
records contain, the proceedings in the trials of 


67 Bailiwick 

Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes, 
the regicides, and of the risings of 1715 and 

Baggage, as applied to a worthless or a 
flirtatious woman, dates from the days when 
soldiers' wives taken on foreign service with 
the regiment travelled with the regimental 
stores and baggage. 

Bagstock, Major. A blustering old toady 
figuring in Dickens's Dombey and Son. He 
always alludes to himself in the third person 
as "Joey B.," "Old Josh B.," and so forth. 

Bahram (ba' ram). Governor of Media, and a 
famous Persian general in the 6th century A.D. 
He was "Bahram the Great Hunter" of 
Omar Khayyam. The Aga Khan's horse of 
this name won the Derby in 1935. 

Bail (Fr. bailler, to deliver up). Security 
given for the temporary release of an accused 
person pending his trial or the completion of 
his trial; also the person or persons giving sucfo 
security. See also LEG-BAIL. 

Common bail, or bail below. A bail given 
to the sheriff to guarantee the appearance of 
the defendant in court at any day and time the 
court demands. 

Special bail, or bail above. A bail which 
includes, besides the guarantee of the defen- 
dant's appearance, an undertaking to satisfy 
all claims made on him. 

Bail up! The Australian bushranger's 
equivalent for the highwayman's "Stand and 

Bailey (probably in ultimate origin from O.Fr. 
battler, to enclose). The external wall of a 
mediaeval castle, forming the first line of 
defence; also the outer court of the castle, the 
space immediately within the outer wall. The 
entrance was over a drawbridge, and through 
the embattled gate. When there were two 
courts they were distinguished as the outer and 
inner bailey. Subsequently the word in- 
cluded the court and all its buildings; and when 
the court was abolished, the term was attached 
to the castle, as the Old Bailey (London) and 
the Bailey (Oxford). 

Bailey bridge. The name given in World 
War II to a metal bridge made of easily 
portable sections of amazing strength which 
could be speedily erected. A major factor in 
the rapidity of Allied advances, particularly in 
N.W. Europe, was the employment of these 
bridges. They were invented by the British 
engineer, D. C. Bailey. 

Bailiff. See BUM-BAILIFF. 

Bailiwick (ba' li wik). The county in which a 
sheriff, as bailiff of the King, exercises juris- 
diction; or the liberty of some lord "who has 
an exclusive authority within its limits to act 
as the sheriff does in the county." 

The sheriff of the shire, whose peculiar office it 
is to walke contmuallye up and downe his balywick 
as ye would have a marshall, 

SPENSER: State of Ireland, 1597. 

Out of one's bailiwick, far from home, on 
strange ground. 

Baily's Beads 

Baily's Beads. See BEAD. 
Bain Marie (ban ma re). The French name 
for a double saucepan like a glue-pot. The 
term is sometimes used in English kitchens. 
It appears earlier (as in Mrs. Glasse's Cookery 
Book, 1796) under its Latin name, Balneum 
Manx, hence the "St. Mary's bath" of Ben 
Jonson's Alchemist, II, in. The name is 
supposed to be due to the gentleness of this 
method of heating. 

Bairam (bl'rani). The name given to two 
great Mohammedan feasts. The Lesser begins 
on the new moon of the month Shawwai, at 
the termination of the fast of Ramadan, and 
lasts three days. The Greater ('Idul'-Kabir) 
is celebrated on the tenth day of the twelfth 
month (Dhul Hijja), lasts for four days, and 
forms the concluding ceremony of the pilgrim- 
age to Mecca. It comes seventy days after the 
Lesser Bairam. 

Bajadere. See BAYADERE. 
Bajan, Bajanella. See BEJAN. 

Bajazet (baj' a zet). Sultan of the Turks from 
1389 to 1403, he was a great warrior, among his 
other victories being that of Nicopolis in 1396 
when he defeated the allied armies of the 
Hungarians, Poles, and French. But he was 
himself beaten by Timur at Ankara (1402) and 
held prisoner by him until his death. There is 
no warrant whatsoever for the story that Timur 
carried him about in an iron cage, but the 
story inspired both Marlowe and Rowe to 
some of their finest writing. 

Baked Meats, or Bake-meats. Meat pies. 
"The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish 
forth the marriage tables" (Hamlet, i, 2); 
/,<?. the hot meat pies served at the funeral and 
not eaten, were served cold at the marriage 

Baker, The. Louis XVI was called "the 
Baker," the queen was called "the baker's 
wife" (or La Boulangere), and the dauphin the 
"shop boy"; because they gave bread to the 
mob of starving men and women who came to 
Versailles on October 6th, 1789. 

The return of the baker, his wife, and the shop- 
boy to Paris [after the king was brought from 
Versailles] had not had the expected effect. Flour 
and bread were stilj scarce. A. DUMAS: The Countess 
de Charny, ch. ix. 

Baker's dozen. Thirteen for twelve. When 
a heavy penalty was inflicted for short weight, 
bakers used to give a surplus number of loaves, 
called the inbread, to avoid all risk of incurring 
the fine. The 13th was the "vantage loaf." 

To give one a baker's dozen, in slang 
phraseology, is to give him a sound drubbing 
i.e. all he deserves and one stroke more. 

Baker's knee. Knock-knee. Bakers were 
said to be particularly liable to this deformity 
owing to the constrained position in which they 
have to stand when kneading bread. 

Bakha. The sacred bull of Hermonthis in 
Egypt. He changed colour every hour of the 
day, and is supposed to have been an incarna- 
tion of Menthu, the Egyptian personification 
of the heat of the sun. 

68 Balance 

Baksheesh (bak' shesh). A Persian word for a 
gratuity. These gifts are insolently and per- 
sistently demanded throughout the Near East 
by beggars, camel-men, servants and all sorts 
of officials more as a claim than a gratuity. 

I was to give the men, too, a "bakshetsh," that 
is a present of money, which is usually made upon 
the conclusion of any sort of treaty. KINGLAKE: 

Balaam (ba' lam). (1) In Dryden's Absalom 
and Achitophel, the Earl of Huntingdon, one of 
the rebels m Monmouth's army. 

(2) The "citizen of sober fame," who lived 
hard by the Monument, in Pope's Moral 
Essays, Ep. iii, was drawn, in part, from 
Thomas Pitt ("Diamond Pitt," see PITT 
DIAMOND), grandfather of the Earl of Chat- 
ham. He "was a plain, good man; religious, 
punctual, and frugal"; he grew rich; got 
knighted; seldom went to church; became a 
courtier; "took a bribe from France"; was 
hanged for treason, and all his goods were 
confiscated to the State. 

This word was also used for matter kept in 
type for filling up odd spaces in periodica's. 
Lockhart, in his Life of Scott (ch. Ixx) tells us : 
Balaam is the cant name for asinine paragraphs 
about monstrous productions of nature and the like, 
kept standing in type to be used whenever the real 
news of the day leaves an awkward space that must 
be filled up somehow. 

Hence Balaam basket or box; the printer's 
slang term for the receptacle for such matter, 
and also (in America) for the place where 
stereotyped "fill-ups" are kept. 

Balafre, Le (baT a fra) (Fr. the gashed). 
Henri, second Duke of Guise (1550-88). In 
the Battle of Dormans he received a sword-cut 
which left a frightful scar on his face. Henri's 
son, Francois, third Duke of Guise, also 
earned and was awarded the same title; 
and it was given by Scott (in Quentm Durward) 
to Ludovic Lesly, an archer of the Scottish 

Balan (ba' Ian). The name of a strong and 
courageous giant in many old romances. In 
Fierabras (q.v.) the "Sowdan of Babylon," 
father of Fierabras, ultimately conquered "by 
Charlemagne. In the Arthurian cycle, brother 
of Balin (<?.v.). 

Balance, The. "Libra," an ancient zodiacal 
constellation between Scorpio and Virgo; also 
the 7th sign of the zodiac, which now contains 
the constellation Virgo, and which the sun 
enters a few days before the autumnal equinox. 
According to Persian mythology, at the Last 
Day a huge balance, as big as the vault of 
heaven, will be displayed; one scale pan will 
be called that of light, and the other that of 
darkness. In the former all good will be 
placed, in the latter all evil; and everyone will 
receive his award according to the verdict of 
the balance. 

In commercial parlance one's balance is the 
total money remaining over after all assets are 
realized and all liabilities discharged. Hence 
the phrases : 

He has a good balance at his banker's. His 

credit side shows a large balance in his favour. 




To strike a balance. To calculate the exact 
difference, if any, between the debit and credit 
side of an account. 

Balance of trade. The money-value differ- 
ence between the exports and imports of a 

Balance of power. Such an adjustment of 
power among sovereign States as results in 
no one nation having such a preponderance as 
could enable it to endanger the independence 
of the rest. 

Balclutha (bal cloo' tha). A fortified town on 
the banks of the Clutha (i.e. the Clyde) 
mentioned in Carthon, one of the Ossian 
poems. It was captured and burnt by Fin- 
gal's father, Comhal, in one of his forays 
against the Britons. 

Bald. Charles le Chauve. Charles I of France 
(823, 840-77), son of Louis le Debonnaire, was 
surnamed "the Bald" (le Chauve). 

Baldheaded. To go for someone baldheaded, 

that is without restraint or compunction, 
probably dates from the days when men wore 
wigs, and any energetic action required that 
the wig should be thrown aside and the owner 
go into the fray unencumbered. 

Baldachin (bol' da kin). The dais or canopy 
under which, in Roman Catholic processions, 
the Holy Sacrament is carried : also the canopy 
above an altar. It is the Ital. baldacchino, so 
called from Balda^co (Ital. for Bagdad), where 
the cloth was originally made. 

Balder (bql' der). Son of Odin and Frigga; 
the Scandinavian god of light, who dwelt at 
Breidhablik, one of the mansions of Asgard. 
He is the central figure of many myths, the 
chief being connected with his death. He is 
said to have been slain by his rival Hodhr 
while fighting for possession of the beautiful 
Nanna. Another legend tells that Frigga 
bound all things by oath not to harm him, but 
accidentally omitted the mistletoe, with a twig 
of which Balder was slain. His death was the 
prelude to the final overthrow of the gods. 

Balderdash. A word of uncertain origin, 
formerly meaning froth, also a mixture of 
incongruous liquors (such as wine and beer or 
beer and milk), but now denoting nonsensical 
talk, ridiculous poetry, jumbled ideas, etc. f It 
may be connected with the Dan. balder, noise, 
clatter; but in view of the earlier senses of the 
word this is, at least, doubtful. 

Baldwin. (1) In the Charlemagne romances, 
nephew of Roland and the youngest and 
comeliest of Charlemagne's paladins. 

(2) Brother of Godfrey of Bouillon, whom 
he succeeded (1 100) as King of Jerusalem. He 
figures in Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered as the 
restless and ambitious Duke of Bologna, leader 
of 1,200 horse in the allied Christian army. 
He died in Egypt, 1118. 

Bale. When bale is highest, boot is nighest. 

An old Icelandic proverb that appears in 
Heywood and many other English writers. It 
means, when things have come to the worst 
they must needs mend. Bale means "evil," 
and is common to most Teutonic languages; 
boot (q.v.) is the M.E. bote, relief, remedy. 

Bale out. The literal meaning of this phrase 
is to ladle out with buckets, as when one 
empties the water out of a small boat. Among 
flying men "to bale out'* means to descend 
from an aeroplane by parachute when some 
emergency necessitating this arises, and in the 
army to get out of a tank in a hurry when it is 

Balfour of Burley, John. Leader of the 
Covenanters in Scott's Old Mortality. His 
prototype in real life was John Balfour of 
Kinloch. Scott seems to have confused him 
with John, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who died 
in 1688 and was not a Covenanter. 

Balin (bar in). Brother to Balan in the 
Arthurian romances. They were devoted to 
each other, but they accidentally met in single 
combat and slew one another, neither knowing 
until just before death who was his opponent. 
At their request they were buried in one grave 
by Merlin. The story is told in Malory, Bk. ii. 
Tennyson gives a much altered version in the 
Idylls of the King. 
Balios. See HORSE. 
Balisarda. See SWORD. 

Balistraria (bal is trar' i a) (mediaeval Lat.). 
Narrow apertures in the form of a cross in the 
walls of ancient castles, through which cross- 
bow-men discharged their arrows. 

Baljc (bawk). Originally a ridge or mound on 
the ground (O.E. baled), then the ridge between 
two furrows left in ploughing, the word came 
to be figuratively applied to any obstacle, 
stumbling-block, or check on one's actions; 
as in billiards, the balk (or baulk) is the part 
of the table behind the baulk-line from which 
one has to play when, in certain circumstances, 
one's freedom is checked. So, also, to balk is 
to place obstacles in the way of. 

A balk of timber is a large beam of timber, 
often in the rough. 

To make a balk. To miss a part of the field 
in ploughing. Hence, to disappoint, to with- 
hold deceitfully. 

Balker. One who from an eminence on shore 
directs fishermen where shoals of herrings 
have gathered together. Probably from the 
Dutch balken, to shout, and connected with 
the O.E. bcelcan, with the same meaning. 

Balkis (borkis). The Mohammedan name 
for the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon. 

Ball. "Ball," the spherical body, is a Middle 
English and Old Teutonic word; "ball," the 
dancing assembly, is from O.Fr. baler, to 
dance, from late Lat. ballare. The two are in 
no way connected. 

To keep the ball a-rolling. To continue 
without intermission. To keep the fun, or the 
conversation, etc., alive; to keep the matter 
going. A metaphor taken from several games 
played with balls. 

To have the ball at your feet. To have a 
great opportunity. A metaphor from foot- 

To take the ball before the bound. To 
anticipate an opportunity; to be over-hasty. 
A metaphor from cricket. 




The ball Is with you. It is your turn now. 

A ball of fortune. One tossed like a ball, 
from pillar to post; one who has experienced 
many vicissitudes of fortune. 

To open the ball. To lead off the first dance 
at a balL 

To strike the ball under the line. To fail in 
one's object. The allusion is to tennis, in 
which a line is stretched in the middle of the 
court, and the players standing on each side 
have to send the ball aver the line. 

Ball-game. The game of baseball. 

"Play ball!". Phrase used by the umpire 
in baseball to indicate that the game may begin. 

Balls, The three golden. The well-known 
sign of the pawnbroker; it was originally the 
sign hung up over their places of business in 
London by the Lombard merchants who were 
the first recognized moneylenders in England. 

Also the emblem of St. Nicholas of Bari, 
who is said to have given three purses of gold 
to three virgin sisters to enable them to marry. 
Ballad. Originally a song to dance-music, or 
a song sung while dancing. It is from late 
Lat. ballare, to dance (as "ball," the dance), 
through Provencal balada, and O.Fr. balade. 

Let me make the ballads, and who will may 
make the laws. Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, 
in Scotland, wrote to the Marquis of Montrose, 
"I knew a very wise man of Sir Christopher 
Musgrave's sentiment. He believed, if a man 
were permitted to make all the ballads, he need 
not care who should make the laws" (1703). 

Ballade (bal ad'). This is an artificial verse- 
form originating with the Provencal trouba- 
dours. In its normal type it consists of three 
stanzas of eight lines, followed by a verse of 
four lines known as the Envoi. The principal 
rules for the ballade are: The same set of 
rhymes in the same order they occupy in the 
first stanza must repeat throughout the whole 
of the verses. No word used as a rhyme must 
be used again for that purpose throughout the 
ballade. Each stanza and the Envoi must 
close with the refrain ; the Envoi always taking 
the same rhymes as the last half of the preced- 
ing verse. Only three rhymes are permissible 
The sequence of the rnymes is usually: 
a, b, a, b, b, c, b, c, for each verse and b, c, b, c, 
for the Envoi. 

Ballet. A theatrical representation of some 
adventure, intrigue, or emotional phase by 
pantomime and dancing. Baltazarini, direc- 
tor of music to Catherine de Medici, is said to 
have been the inventor of ballets as presented 
in modern times: for long they were an integral 
part of Italian opera. 

Balliol College, Oxford, founded in 1263, by 
Sir John de Baliol (father of Baliol, King of 
Scotland) and his wife, Devorguilla. 

Balloon. The balloon was invented by Jacques 
Etienne Montgolfier (1745-1799). The first 
ascent was made m 1783, the balloon being 
caused to rise by hot air. In 1825 Charles 
Green went up in the first gas-filled balloon. 
During the siege of Paris, in 1871, fifty-four 
balloons were dispatched carrying 2,500,000 

letters. In World War I captive balloons were 
largely used by both sides to observe the 
enemy's movements and dispositions. A 
barrage of captive balloons was used in both 
World Wars as a defence of cities against" 
enemy aircraft. 

Ballot. This method of voting is so called 
because it was originally by the use of small 
balls secretly put into a box, as is still done in 
clubs, etc. Voting for Parliamentary elec- 
tions was first carried out by ballot in 1870 
(the Ballot Act was two years later) and the 
method then introduced has since obtained. 
The names of candidates are printed in 
alphabetical order on a voting paper, the 
elector marks a cross against his choice, and 
the folded paper is then slipped into a sealed 

Ballyhoo (bal i hoo')- The word is said to 
come from Bally hooly, a village in Co. Cork, 
but in its present sense its origin is in the U.S.A. 
Ballyhoo means noisy demonstration to attract 
attention, exaggerated publicity, or extravagant 

Balm (Fr. baume; a contraction of balsam). 
An aromatic, resinous gum exuding from cer- 
tain trees, and used in perfumery and medicine; 
hence, a soothing remedy or alleviating agency. 

Is there no balm in Gilead? (Jer. viii, 22). Is 
there no remedy, no consolation? "Balm" 
in this passage is the Geneva Bible's translation 
of the Heb. son, which probably means mastic, 
the resin yielded by the mastic tree, Pistqcia 
Lentiscus, which was formerly an ingredient 
used in many medicines. In Wyclif s Bible the 
word is translated "gumme," and in Cover- 
dale's "tnacle." See TREACLE, 

The gold-coloured resin now known as 
"Balm of Gilead'* is that from the Balso- 
modendron Gileadense, an entirely different 

Balmerino (bal mer' i no). The story was long 
current that when Lord Balmerino was 
executed for his part in the Jacobite rebellion 
of 1745, the executioner bungled and only half 
cut off his head; whereupon his lordship 
turned round and grinned at him. 

Balmy. "I am going to the balmy" i.e. to 
"Balmy sleep"; one of Dick Swiveller's pet 
phrases (Dickens: Old Curiosity Shop). 

For balmy in the sense of silly, or mildly 
idiotic, see BARMY. 

Balnibarbi (bal ni bar' bi). A land occupied 
by projectors (Swift: Gulliver's Travels). 

Balthazar (bal thaz' ar). One of the kings of 
Cologne. See MAGI. 

Baltic Sea. Scandinavia used to be known as 
Baltia. There is a Lithuanian word, baltas, 
meaning "white," from which the name may 
be derived; but it may also be from Scand 
balta, a strait or belt, and the Baltic would then 
be the sea of the " belts." 

Baltic, The, in commercial parlance is the 
familiar name of the Baltic Mercantile and 
Shipping Exchange, which was founded in the 
17th century. It deals with chartering of 
ships, freights, marine insurance, etc., all over 
the world. 

Bamberg Bible 



Bamberg Bible, The. See BIBLE, SPECIALLY 


Bambino (b&m be' no). An image of the in- 
fant Jesus, swaddled. The word is Italian, 
meaning an infant. 

Bambocciades (bam boch' i adz). Pictures of 
scenes in low life, such as country wakes, 
penny weddings, and so on, so called from the 
Ital. bamboccio, a cripple, a nickname given 
to Pieter van Laar (c. 1613-c. 1674), a noted 
Dutch painter of such scenes. See MICHAEL- 

Bamboozle. To cheat by cunning, or daze 
with tricks. It is a slang term of uncertain 
origin which came into use about the end of 
the 17th century. 

All the people upon earth, excepting those two 
or three worthy gentlemen, are imposed upon, 
cheated, bubbled, abused, bamboozled. 

ADDISON: The Drummer. 

Bampton Lectures. Founded by the Rev. John 
Bampton, canon of Salisbury, who, in 1751, 
left 120 per annum to the university of Ox- 
ford, to pay for eight divinity lectures on given 
subjects to be preached yearly at Great St. 
Mary's, and printed afterwards. M.A.s of 
Oxford or Cambridge are eligible as lecturers, 
but the same person may never be chosen 

Ban (A.S. bannan, to summon, O.Teut. to 
proclaim). Originally meaning to summon, 
the verb came to mean to imprecate, to anathe- 
matize, to pronounce a curse upon; and the 
noun from toeing a general proclamation was 
applied specifically to an ecclesiastical curse or 
denunciation, a formal prohibition, a sentence 
of outlawry, etc. Banish and BANNS (#.v.), 
are from the same root. 

Lever le ban et Parriere ban (Fr.). To levy 
the ban was to call the king's vassals to active 
service; to levy the arriere ban was to levy the 
vassals of a suzerain or under-lord. 
Ban, King. In the Arthurian legends, father 
of Sir Launcelot du Lac. He died of grief 
when his castle was taken and burnt through 
the treachery of his seneschal. 
Banagher, That beats (ban 'a her). Wonder- 
fully inconsistent and absurd exceedingly 
ridiculous. Banagher is a town in Ireland, on 
the Shannon, in Offaly. It formerly sent two 
members to Parliament, and was a famous 
pocket borough. When a member spoke of 
a family borough where every voter was a man 
employed by the lord, it was not unusual to 
reply, "Well, that beats Banagher." 

Grose, however, gives another explanation. 
According to him Banagher (or Banaghan) 
was an Irish minstrel famous for telling wonder- 
ful stories of the Munchausen kind. 

"Well," says he, "'to gratify them I will. So 
just a morsel. But, Jack, this beats Bannagher." 
W. B. YEATS: Fairy Tales of the Irish Peasantry, 
p. 196. 

Banat (ban' at). A territory under a ban 
(Persian for lord, master), particularly certain 
districts of Hungary and Croatia. The word 
was brought into Europe by the Avars, a Ural- 
Altaic people allied to the Huns, who appeared 
on the Danube and settled in Dacia in the 
latter half of the 6th century. 

Banbury. A town in Oxfordshire, proverbially 
famous for its Puritans, its '* cheese-paring," 
its cakes, and its^cross. Hence a Banbury man 
is a Puritan or bigot. The term is common in 
Elizabethan literature: Zeal-of-the-land-busy,. 
in Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, is described as 
a " Banbury man." and Braithwaite's lines in 
Drunken Barnabee's Journal (1638) are well 

In my progresse travelling Northward, 
Taking my farewell o'th Southward, 
To Banbery came I, O prophane one! 
Where I saw a Puntane one, 
Hanging of his Cat on Monday, 
For killing of a Mouse on Sonday. 

As thin as Banbury cheese. In Marston's 
Jack Dt urn's Entertainment (1600) we read, 
"You are like a Banbury cheese, nothing but 
paring "; and Bardolph compares Slender to 
Banbury cheese (Merry Wives, i, 1). The 
Banbury cheese is a rich milk cheese about an 
inch in thickness, 

Banbury cake is a sort of spiced, pastry 
turnover, once made exclusively at Banbury. 

Banbury Cross was removed by the Puritans 
as a heathenish memorial in 1646, but the 
present one was placed on the site in its stead 
in 1858. 

Banco (bang' ko). A commercial term de- 
noting bank money of account as distinguished 
from currency; it is used principally in 
exchange business, and in cases where there is 
an appreciable difference between the actual 
and the nominal value of money. 

In banco. A late Latin legal phrase, ntean- 
ing "on the bench"; it is applied to sit/tings 
of the Superior Court of Common Law in its 
own bench or court, and not on circuit, or at 
NfsfPrius (<?.v.). 

Mark Banco. The mark of fixed value 
employed as an invariable standard in the old 
Bank at Hamburg, and used by the Hanseatic 
League. Deposits in gold and silver were 
credited in Mark Banco, and all banking ac- 
counts were carried on in Mark Banco, so that 
it was a matter of no moment how exchange 

Bancus Regius (bang' kus). The King's or 
Queen's Bench. Bancus Commmris, the bench 
of Common Pleas. 

Bandana or Bandanna (ban dan' a) . An Indian 
word (bandhnu, a mode of dyeing) now usually 
restricted to handkerchiefs of either silk or 
cotton having a dark ground of Turkey red or 
blue, with white or yellow spots. 
Bandbox, He looks as if he were just out of a. 
He is so neat and precise, so carefully got up 
in his dress and person, that he looks like some 
company dress, carefully kept in a bandbox, a 
cardboard box for millinery formerly used by 
parsons for keeping their clerical bands (#.v.) 

Neat as a bandbox. Neat as clothes folded 
and put by in a bandbox. 

The Bandbox Plot Rapin (History of 
England, iv, 297) tells us that a bandbox was 
sent to the lord-treasurer, in Queen Anne's 
reign, with three pistols charged and cocked, 



Bannatyne Club 

the triggers being tied to a pack-thread fastened 
to the lid. When the lid was lifted, the pistols 
would go off and shoot the person who 
opened the hd. He adds that Dean Swift 
happened to be by at- the time the box arrived, 
and seeing the pack-thread, cut it, thereby 
saving the life of the lord-treasurer. 

Two ink-horn tops your Whigs did fill 

With gunpowder and lead; 
Which with two serpents made of quill, 

You in a bandbox laid; 
A tinder-box there was beside, 

Which had a trigger to it. 
To which the very string was ty'd 
That was designed to do it. 

Plot upon Plot (about 1713). 
Bandicoot. To bandicoot is an Australian 
phrase meaning to steal vegetables often by 
removing the roots as with potatoes and 
carrots and leaving the tops standing in the 
ground so that the theft is not noticed. 
Bands. Clerical bands are a relic of the 
ancient amice, a square linen tippet tied about 
the neck of priests during the saying of Mass. 
They are rarely worn in England nowadays, 
but are still used by Presbyterian ministers 
and clerics on the Continent. 

Legal bands are a relic of the wide falling 
collars which formed a part of the ordinary 
dress in the reign of Henry yill, and which 
were especially conspicuous in the reign of 
the Stuarts. In the showy days of Charles II 
the plain bands were changed for lace ends. 
The eighth Henry, as I understand, 
Was the first prince that ever wore a band. 

JOHN TAYLOR, the Water Poet (1580-1654). 
Bandwagon. On the bandwagon. To get on 
the bandwagon is to show strong and open 
support for some popular movement or cause. 
It was formerly the custom in American 
elections for a wagon carrying a band to parade 
through the streets, in order to arouse en- 
thusiasm for a particular candidate. Local 
political leaders who supported that candidate 
would then jump on to the wagon and ride 
with the band, 

Bandy. I am not going to bandy words with 
you i.e. to wrangle. The metaphor is from 
the Irish game bandy (the precursor of 
hockey), in which each player has a stick with 
a crook at the end to strike a wooden or other 
hard ball. The ball is bandied from side to 
side, each party trying to beat it home to the 
opposite goal. The derivation of the word is 
quite uncertain. It was earlier a term in 
tennis, as is shown by the passage in Webster's 
Victoria Corombona (iv, 4), where the 
conspirators regret that the handle of the 
racket of the man to be murdered had not been 

That while he had been bandying at tennis, 

He might have sworn himself to hell, and strook 

His soul into the hazard. 

Bane really means ruin, death, or destruction 
(A.S. bana, a murderer); and "I will be his 
bane" means I will ruin or murder him. Bane 
is, therefore, a mortal injury. 

My bane and antidote are both before it. 

This [sword] in a moment brings me to an end. 

But this [Plato] assures me I shall never die. 


Bangers (bang' erz). One of the many slang 
terms for sausages. 

Bangorian Controversy. A theological paper- 
war stirred up by a sermon preached March 
31st, 1717, before George I, by Dr. Hoadly, 
Bishop of Bangor, on the text, " My kingdom 
is not of this world," the argument being that 
Christ had not delegated His power or 
authority to either king or clergy. The ser- 
mon was printed by royal command ; it led to 
such discord in Convocation that this body 
was prorogued, and from that time till 1852 
was allowed to meet only as a matter of form. 

Banian, Banyan (ban' yan) (Sanskrit vanij, a 
merchant). This was the name applied to a 
caste of Hindu traders, who wore a particular 
dress, were strict in their observance of fasts, 
and abstained from eating any kind of flesh. 
It is from this circumstance that sailors speak 
of Banyan Days fe.v.). 

The word is also used to describe a sort of 
loose house-coat worn by Anglo-Indians. 

Bank. The original meaning was "bench" 
or "shelf"; in Italy the word (banco) was 
applied specially to a tradesman's counter, and 
hence to a money-changer's bench or table, 
which gives the modern meaning of an 
establishment which deals in money, invest- 
ments, etc. 

Bank of a river. Stand with your back to 
the source, and face to the sea or outlet: 
the left bank is on your left, and right bank on 
your right hand. 

Bankside. Part of the borough of South- 
wark on the right bank of the Thames, 
between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges. In 
Shakespeare's time it was noted for its 
theatres, its prison, and its brothels. Hence, 
Sisters of the Bank, an old term for prostitutes. 

Come I will send for a whole coach or two of 
Bankside ladies, and we will be jovial RANDOLPH: 
The Muses' Looking Class, II, iv. 

Bankrupt. In Italy, when a moneylender 
was unable to continue business, his bench 
or counter (see BANK) was broken up, and he 
himself was spoken of as a bancorotto i.e. a 
bankrupt. This is said to be the origin of 
our term. 

Banks's Horse. A horse trained to do all 
manner of tricks, called Marocco, and be- 
longing to one Banks about the end of the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth. One of his exploits 
is said to have been the ascent of St. Paul's 
steeple. A favourite story of the time is of 
an apprentice who called his master to see the 
spectacle. '*Away, you fool," said the shop- 
keeper; "what need I go to see a horse on the 
top when I can see so many asses at the 
bottom 1" When Banks went to Paris in 1601 
he was packed off to prison, as the city 
authorities and the Church suspected that 
Marpcco's tricks were performed by black 

Bannatyne Club. A literary club, named after 
George Bannatyne (d. about 1608), to whose 
industry we owe the preservation of much early 
Scottish poetry. It was instituted in 1823 by 
Sir Walter Scott, and had for its object the 

ublication of rare works illustrative of 
cottish history, poetry, and general literature. 
The club was dissolved in 1859. 

Banner of the Prophet 



Banner of the Prophet, The. What purports 
to be the actual standard of Mohammed 
is preserved in the Eyab mosque of Constan- 
tinople. It is called Sin'aqifsh-sharif and is 
12 feet in length. It is made of four layers 
of silk, the topmost being green, embroidered 
with gold. In times of peace the banner 
is guarded in the hall of the "noble vestment,'* 
as the dress worn by the Prophet is styled. 
In the same hall are preserved many other 
relics including the stirrup, the sabre, and the 
bow of Mohammed. 

Banner of France, The sacred, was the Ori- 
flamme (#.v.). 

Banners in churches. These are suspended 
as thank offerings to God. Those in St. 
George's Chapel, Windsor, Henry VII's 
Chapel, Westminster, etc., are to indicate that 
the knight whose banner is hung up avows 
himself devoted to God's service. 

Banneret. One who leads his vassals to battle 
under his own banner. Also an order of 
knighthood formerly conferred on the field of 
battle for deeds of valour. The first knight- 
banneret to be made seems to have been John 
de Copeland, who, in 1346, captured King 
David Bruce at Neville's Cross. The order 
was allowed to become extinct soon after the 
first creation of baronets, in 1611. 

Banns of Marriage. The publication in the 
parish church for three successive Sundays of 
an intended marriage. It is made after the 
Second Lesson of the Morning Service. To 
announce the intention is called "Publishing 
the banns," from the words "I publish the 
banns of marriage between . . ." The word is 
from the same root as BAN fa.v.). 

To forbid the banns. To object formally to 
the proposed marriage. 

And a better fate did poor Maria deserve than to 
have a banns forbidden by the curate of the parish 
who published them. STERNE: Sentimental Journey. 

Banquet used at one time to have, besides its 
present meaning, the meaning of dessert. 
Thus, in the Penny less Pilgrimage (1618) John 
Taylor, the Water Poet, says: "Our first and 
second course being three-score dishes at one 
boord, and after that, always a banquet.'* 
The word is from Ital. banco (see BANK), a 
bench or table; at which one sits for a meal, 
hence "bad manners at table." 

Banshee. The domestic spirit of certain Irish 
or Highland Scottish families, supposed to 
take an interest in its welfare, and to wail at the 
death of one of the family. The word is the 
Old Irish ben side, a woman of the elves or 

Bantam. A little bantam cock. A plucky 
little fellow that will not be bullied by a person 
bigger than himself. The bantam cock will 
encounter a dunghill cock five times his own 
weight, and is therefore said to "have a great 
soul in a little body." The bantam originally 
came from Bantam, in Java. 

Banting. Reducing superfluous fat by living 
on meat diet, and abstaining from beer, farina- 
ceous food, and vegetables, according to the 
method adopted by William Banting (1797- 
1878), a London cabinet-maker, once a very 

fat man. The word was introduced about 

A greater benefactor to mankind was Sir 
Frederick Grant Banting (1890-1941) who 
discovered insulin in 1922. 

Bantling. A child, a brat; usually with a 
depreciatory sense, or meaning an illegitimate 
child. It is from Ger. bankling, a bastard, 
from bank, a bench; hence, a child begotten 
casually, as on a bench, instead of in the 
marriage-bed. The word has been confused 
with handling, taken to mean a little one in 
swaddling clothes. 

Banyan Day. An old English nautical phrase 
to describe a day in which no meat came in the 
rations. In Australia it found its way to out- 
stations where the hands were likely to have 
eaten all their meat before the last day of the 
ration period, thus becoming involuntary 
vegetarians. In Australia it is found in 
official documents in the later 18th century. 

Banzai. The Japanese victory cry, meaning 
** Ten thousand years." 

Baphomet. An imaginary idol or symbol, 
which the Templars were said to worship in 
their mysterious rites. The word is a cor- 
ruption of Mahomet. (Fr. Baphomet; O.Sp. 
Ma to mat.) 

Baptes. Priests of the goddess Cotytto, the 
Thracian goddess of lewdness, whose mid- 
night orgies were so obscene that they dis- 
gusted even the goddess herself. They re- 
ceived their name from the Greek verb bap to, 
to wash, because of the so-called ceremonies of 
purification connected with her rites. (Juvenal, 

Baptism. This sacrament of the Christian 
Church dates back in one form or another to 
pre-apostohc times. 

Baptism for the dead was the baptism of a 
living person instead of and for the sake of one 
who had died unbaptized. 

Baptism of blood was martyrdom for the sake 
of Christ and supplied the place of the sacra- 
ment if the martyr was unbaptized. 

Baptism of desire is the virtue or grace of 
baptism acquired by one who dies earnestly 
desiring baptism before he can receive it. 

Baptism of fire is really martyrdom, but the 
phrase was misapplied by Napoleon III to one 
who went under fire in battle for the first time. 

Bar. The whole body of barristers; as bench 
means the whole body of judges. The bar 
is the partition separating the seats of the 
benchers from the rest of the hall, and, like the 
lood-screen of a church, which separates the 
chancel from the rest of the building, is due to 
the old idea that the laity form an inferior 
order of beings. 

To be called to the bar. To be admitted a 
barrister. Students having attained a certain 
status used to be called from the body of the 
hall within the bar, to take part in the proceed- 
ings of the court. To disbar means to expel a 
barrister from his profession. 

To be called within the bar. To be appointed 
King's Counsel. 




Trial at Bar. By full court of judges in the 
King's Bench division. These trials are for 
very difficult causes, before special juries, and 
occupy the attention of the four judges in 
the superior court, instead of at NistPrius. 

At the bar. The prisoner at the bar, the 
prisoner in the dock before the judge. 

Bar, excepting. In racing phrase a man will 
bet "Two to one, bar one," that is, two to 
one against any horse in the field with one 
exception. The word means "barring out,'* 
shutting out, debarring, as in Shakespeare's: 

Nay, but I bar to-night: you shall not gage me by 
what we do to-night. Merchant of Venice, ii, 2. 

Bar. An honourable ordinary, in heraldry, 
consisting of two parallel horizontal lines 
drawn across the shield and containing a fifth 
part of the field. 

A barre ... is drawne overthwart the escochon 
... it containeth the fifth part of the Field. 

GWILLIM: Heraldry. 

Bar sinister. A phrase popularly used to 
imply bastardy, though the heraldic sign 
intended is a bend sinister (g.v.). 

Barring oat. In the brave days when 
schoolboys played pranks on their masters, 
they occasionally vented their humour and 
sometimes their spleen on one by barricading 
windows- and doors to prevent his entering the 
school. Miss Edgeworth has a story thus 

Revolts, republics, revolutions, most 

No graver than a schoolboys' barring out. 

TENNYSON: The Princess. 

Baralipton. See SYLLOGISM. 

Barataria. Sancho Panza's island-city, in 
Don Quixote, over which he was appointed 
governor. The table was presided over by 
Doctor Pedro Rezio de Aguero, who caused 
every dish set upon the board to be removed 
without being tasted some because they 
heated the blood, and others because they 
chilled it; some for one ill effect, and some for 
another; so that Sancho was allowed to eat 
nothing. The word is from Span, barato, 

Barataria is also the setting of Act II of 
The Gondoliers. 

Barathron, or Barathrum. A deep ditch be- 
hind the Acropolis of Athens into which male- 
factors were thrown; somewhat in the same 
way as criminals at Rome were cast from the 
Tarpeian Rock. Sometimes used figuratively, 
as in Massinger's New Way to Pay Old Debts, 
where Sir Giles Overreach calls Greedy a 
''barathrum of the shambles" (Hi, 2), mean- 
ing that he was a sink into which any kind 
of food or offal could be thrown. 

Mercury: Why, Jupiter will put you all into a sack 
together, and toss you into Barathrum, terrible * 

Carion: Barathrum? What's Barathrum? 

Mer.: Why, Barathrum is Pluto's boggards 
EprivyJ: you must be all thrown into Barathrum. 
RANDOLPH: Hey for Honesty, v, 1 (c.1630). 

Barb (Lat. barba, a beard). Used in early 
times in England for the beard of a man, and 
so for similar appendages such as the feathers 
under the beak of a hawk; but its first English 
use was for a curved-back instrument such as a 
fish-hook (which has one backward curve, or 

barb), or an arrow (which has two). The barb 
of an arrow is, then, the metal point having 
two iron "feathers," which stick out so as to 
hinder extraction, and does not denote the 
feather on the upper part of the shaft. 

Barb. A Barbary steed, noted for docility, 
speed, endurance, and spirit, formerly also 
called a Barbary, as in Ben Jonson's : 

You must ... be seen on your barbary often, or 
leaping over stools for the credit of your back. 

Silent Women, IV, I. 

Barbara. See SYLLOGISM. 

Barbara, St. The patron saint of arsenals 
and powder magazines. Her father delivered 
her up to Martian, governor of Nicomedia, for 
being a Christian. After she had been sub- 
jected to the most cruel tortures, her unnatural 
father was about to strike off her head, when 
a lightning flash laid him dead at her feet. 
Hence, St. Barbara is invoked against lightning. 
Her feast day is December 4th. 
Barbari (bar' ber e). Quod non fecerunt bar- 
bari, fecerunt Barberini, i.e. What the bar- 
barians left standing, the Barberini contrived 
to destroy. A saying current in Rome at the 
time when Pope Urban VIII (Barberini) 
converted the bronze fittings of the Panthe9n 
which had remained in splendid condition 
since 27 B.C. into cannon (1635). 

Barbarian. The Greeks and Romans called 
all foreigners barbarians (babblers; men who 
spoke a language not understood by them); 
the word was probably merely imitative of un- 
intelligible speech, but may have been an 
actual word in some outlandish tongue. 

If then I know not the meaning of the voice 
[words], I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, 
and he that speaketh will be a barbarian unto me. 

1 Cor. xiv, II. 

Barbarossa (bar ba ros' a). (Red-beard, similar 
to Rufus). The surname of Frederick I of 
Germany (1121-90). Khaireddin Barbarossa, 
the famous corsair, became Bey of Algiers in 
1518, and in 1537 was appointed high admiral 
of the Turkish fleet. With Francis I he 
captured Nice in 1543; he died at Constanti- 
nople three years later. 

Barbary Roan, the favourite horse of Richard 


O, how it yearned my heart when I beheld 
In London streets that coronation day, 
When Bolmgbroke rode on roan Barbary! 
That horse that thou [Rich. II] so often hast bestnd, 
That horse that I so carefully have dressed. 

SHAKESPEARE: Richard II, v, 5. 


Barbason (bar/ ba son). A fiend mentioned by 
Shakespeare in the Merry Wives of Windsor, 
ii, 2, and in Henry V, ii, 1. 

Amaimon sounds well, Lucifer well, Barbason well, 
yet they are . . . the names of fiends, Merry Wives. 

The name seems to have been obtained from 
Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), where 
we are told of "Marbas, alias Barbas," who 
is a great president, and appeareth in the forme of 
a mightie lion; but at the commandment of a con- 
juror cummeth up in a likenes of a man, and answer- 
eth fullie as touching anie thing which is hidden or 




Barbecue (bar' be ku) (Sp. barbacoa, a wooden 
framework set on posts). A term used in 
America formerly for a wooden bedstead, and 
also for a kind of large gridiron upon which an 
animal could be roasted whole. Hence, an 
animal, such as a hog, so roasted; also the 
feast at which it is eaten, and the process of 
roasting it. 

Oldfield, with more than harpy throat subdued, 
Cries, " Send me, ye gods, a whole hog barbecued!" 

POPE: Satires, ri, 25. 

Barbed Steed. A horse in armour. Barbed 
-should properly be barded\ it is from the Fr. 
barde, horse-armour. Horses* ** bards " were 
the metal coverings for the breast and flanks. 
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds 
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, 
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber, 
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute. 

SHAKESPEARE- Richard HI, i, 1. 
Barber. Every barber knows that. 
Omnibus notum tonsoribus. 

HORACE: 1 Satires, vii, 3. 

In ancient Rome, as in modern England, the 
barber's shop was a centre for the dissemina- 
tion of scandal, and the talk of the town. 

Barber Poet. Jacques Jasmin (1798-1864), 
a Provenal poet, who was also known as 
" the last of the Troubadours," was so called. 
He was a barber. 

Barber's pole. This pole, painted spirally 
with two stripes of red and white, and dis- 
played outside barber's shops as a sign, is a 
relic of the days when the callings of barber and 
surgeon were combined," it is symbolical of the 
winding of a bandage round the arm previous 
to blood-letting. The gilt knob at its end 
represents the brass basin which is sometimes 
actually suspended on the pole. The basin 
has a curved gap cut in it to fit the throat, and 
was used for lathering customers before 
shaving them. The Barber-Surgeons* Com- 
pany was founded in 1461 and was re-incorpor- 
ated in 1540. In 1745 it was decided that the 
business or trades of barber and surgeon were 
really independent of each other and the two 
branches were separated; but the ancient 
company, or guild, was allowed to retain its 
charter. The last barber-surgeon in London 
is said to have been one Middleditch, of Great 
Suffolk Street in the Borough, who died 1821. 
To this year (1541), (says Wornum) . . . belongs 
the Barber-Surgeons' picture of Henry (VIII) grant- 
ing a charter to the Corporation. The barbers and 
surgeons of London, originally constituting one 
company, had been separated, but were again, in 
the 32 Henry VIII, combined into a single society, 
and it was the ceremony of presenting them with a 
new charter which is commemorated by Holbein's 
picture, now in their hall in Monkwell Street. 

Barber of Seville. The comedy by this 
name (Le Barbier de Seville) was written by 
Beaumarchais and produced in Paris in 1775. 
In it appeared for the first time the famous 
character of Figaro. In 1780 Paisiello pro- 
duced an opera bouffe on the same lines, but 
this was eclipsed in 1816 by the appearance of 
Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia, with words by 
SterbinL On its first appearance it was hissed 
but it has since maintained its place as one of 
the most popular operas ever written, 
Barbican. The outwork intended to defend 
the drawbridge in a fortified town or castle 

(Fr. barbacane). Also an opening or loophole 
in the wall of a fortress, through which guns 
may be fired. The street of this name in 
London is built partly on the site of a barbican 
that was in front of Aldersgate. 

Barcarole (bar ka rol). Properly, a song sung 
by Venetian boatmen as they row their 
gondolas (It. barcaiuolo, a boatman). 

Barcelona (bar se 16' na). A fichu, piece of 
velvet for the neck, or small necktie, made at 
Barcelona, and common in England in the 
early 19th century. Also a neckcloth of some 
bright colour, as red with yellow spots. 
Now on this handkerchief so starch and white 
She pinned a Barcelona black and tight. 

PETER PINDAR: Portfolio (Dinah} 

Barchester. An imaginary cathedral town 
(said to be Salisbury), in the county of Barset- 
shire; the setting of the Barchester Novels by 
Anthony Trollope (1815-82). These are: The 
Warden, 1855; Barchester Towers, 1857; 
Doctor Thome, 1858; Framley Parsonage, 
1861; The Small House at AUington (1864); 
and Last Chronicle of Bar set, 1867. 

Barcochebah or Barchoehebas (Shimeon) 
(bar koch' e ba). An heroic leader of the Jews 
against the Romans A.D. 132. He took 
Jerusalem in 132, and was proclaimed king, 
many of the Jews believing him to be the 
Messiah, but in 135 he was overthrown with 
great slaughter. Jerusalem was laid in ruins, 
and he himself slain. It is said that he gave 
himself out to be the ** Star out of Jacob " 
mentioned in Numb, xxiv, 17. (Bar Cochba in 
Hebrew means " Son of a star.") 

Bard. The minstrel of the ancient Celtic 
peoples, the Gauls, British, Welsh, Irish, and 
Scots; they celebrated the deeds of gods and 
heroes, incited to battle, sang at royal and other 
festivities, and frequently acted as heralds. 
The oldest bardic compositions that have been 
preserved are of the 5th century. 

Bard of Avon. William Shakespeare (1564- 
1616), who was born and buried at Stratford- 

Bard of Ayrshire. Robert Burns (1759-96), 
a native of Ayrshire. 

Bard of Hope. Thomas Campbell (1777- 
1844), author of The Pleasures of Hope. 

Bard of the Imagination. Mark Akenside 
(1721-70), author of Pleasures of the Imagina- 

Bard of Memory. Samuel Rogers (1763- 
1855), author of The Pleasures of Memory. 

Bard of Olney. William Cowper (1731- 
1800), who resided at Olney, in Bucks, for 
many years. 

Bard of Prose. Boccaccio (131 3-75), author 
of the Decameron. 

The Bard of Prose, creative spirit' he 
Of the Hundred Tales of Love. 

BYRON: Childe Harold, IV, Ivi. 

Bard of Rydal Mount. William Wordsworth 
(1770-1850); so called because Rydal Mount 
was his mountain home. 

Bard of Twickenham. Alexander Pope 
(1688-1744), who resided at Twickenham. 



Barmecide's Feast 

Bardolph (bar' dolf)- One of FalstafTs in- 
ferior officers. FalstafF calls him ** the knight 
of the burning lamp," because his nose was so 
red, and his face so " full of meteors." He is 
a low-bred, drunken swaggerer, without 
principle, and poor as a church mouse. 
(Merry Wives; Henry IV, 1, 2.) 

Barebones Parliament, The. The Parliament 
convened by Cromwell m 1653, so called from 
Praise-God Barebones, a fanatical leader, who 
was a prominent member. Also called the 
Little Parliament, because it comprised fewer 
than 150 members and lasted only five months. 

Barefaced. The present meaning, audacious, 
shameless, impudent, is a depreciation of its 
earlier sense, which was merely open or un- 
concealed. A " bare face " is, of course, one 
that is beardless, one the features of which are 
in no way hidden. The French equivalent is 
a visage decouvert, with uncovered face. 

Barefooted. Certain friars and nuns (some 
of whom use sandals instead of shoes), particu- 
larly the reformed section of the Order of 
Carmelites (White Friars) that was founded by 
St. Theresa in the 16th century. These are 
known as the Discalced Carmelites (Lat. 
calceus, a shoe). The practice is defended by 
the command of our Lord to His disciples: 
** Cany neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes " 
(Luke x. 4). The Jews and Romans used to 
put off their shoes in mourning and public 
calamities, by way of humiliation. 

Bare Poles, Under. A nautical term, implying 
that on account of rough weather and high 
winds the ship carries no sails on the masts. 
Figuratively applied to a man reduced to the 
last extremity. 

We were scudding before a heavy gale, under bare 
poles. Capt. MARRYAT. 

Bargain. Into the bargain. In addition there- 
to; besides what was bargained for. 

To make the best of a bad bargain. To bear 
bad luck, or bad circumstances with equani- 

To stand to a bargain. To abide by it; the 
Lat. stare conventis, conditionibus stare, pactis 
stare, etc. 

Barisal Guns. A name given to certain 
mysterious booming sounds heard in many 
parts of the world as well as Barisal (Bengal), 
generally on or near water. They resemble 
the sound of distant cannon, and are probably 
of subterranean origin. At Seneca Lake, New 
York, they are known as Lake guns, on the 
coast of Holland and Belgium as mistpoeffers, 
and in Italy as bombiti, baturho marina, etc. 

Bark. Dogs in their wild state never bark* 
they howl, whine, and growl, but do not bark. 
Barking is an acquired habit. 

Barking dogs seldom bite. Huffing, bounc- 
ing, hectoring fellows rarely possess cool 
courage. Similar proverbs are found in Latin, 
French, Italian, and German. 

To bark at the moon. To rail uselessly 
especially at those in high places, as a dog 
thinks to frighten the moon by baying at it 

There is a superstition that when a dog does 
this it portends death or ill-luck. 

I'd rather be a dog, and bay the moon, 

Than such a Roman. 

SHAKESPEARE: Julius Ccesar, iv, 3. 

His bark is worse than his bite. He scolds 
and abuses roundly, but does not bear malice, 
or do mischief. 

To bark up the wrong tree. To waste energy, 
to be on the wrong scent The phrase comes 
from raccoon hunting. This sport always takes 
place in the dark, with dogs which are supposed 
to mark the tree where the raccoon has taken 
refuge, and bark until the hunter arrives. 
But even dogs can mistake the tree in the dark, 
and often bark up the wrong one. 

Barker. A pistol, which barks or makes a 
loud report. 

The term is also used by circus people, etc., 
for the man who stands at the entrance to a 
side-show and shouts out the attraction to be 
seen within. 

Barkis is willin'. The message sent by Barkis 
to Peggotty by David Copper-field, expressing 
his desire to marry. It has passed into a pro- 
verbial expression indicating willingness. 
Barlaam and Josaphat (bar' lam, Jos' a ft). 
An Eastern romance telling how Barlaam, an 
ascetic monk of the desert of Sinai, converted 
Josaphat, son of a Hindu king, to Christianity. 
Probably written in the first half of the 7th 
century, it seems to have been put into its final 
form by St. John of Damascus, a Syrian monk 
of the 8th century; it became immensely popu- 
lar in the Middle Ages, and includes (among 
many other stories) the Story of the Three 
Caskets, which was used by Shakespeare in the 
Merchant of Venice A poetical version was 
written by von Ems (13th cent.). 
Barley. To cry barley. To ask for truce (in 
children's games). Probably a corruption of 
parley, from Fr. parler, to speak. In Scots, to 
have a barley is to have a break, to pause for a 
moment's rest. 

Barley-break. An old country game like 
the modern "Prisoners' Base," having a 
" home " which was called " hell." Herrick 
has a poem, Barley-break, or Last in Hell. 

Barley-bree. Ale : malt liquor brewed from 
barley, also called barley-broth, 

The cock may craw, the day may daw 
And aye we'll taste the barley-bree. 

BURNS: Willie Brew' da Peck o 1 Maut. 
To wear the barley cap. To be top-heavy or 
tipsy with barley-bree. 

John or Sir John Barleycorn. A personifica- 
tion of malt liquor. The term was made 
popular by Burns. 

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn, 

What dangers thou canst make us scorn! 

Tarn 0' Shanter, 105, 106. 
Barley-mow. A heap or stack of barley. 
(A.S. muga; cp. Icel. muge, a swathe.) See 

Barmecide's Feast (bar me sld). An illusion: 
particularly one containing a great disappoint- 
ment. The reference is to the Story of the 
Barber s Sixth Brother in the Arabian Nights. 
A prince of the great Barmecide family in 




Bagdad, wishing to have some sport, asked 
Schacabac, a poor, starving wretch, to dinner, 
and set before him a series of empty plates. 
"How do you like your soup?'* asked the 
merchant. "Excellently well," replied Schaca- 
bac. "Did you ever see whiter bread?" 
"Never, honourable sir," was the civil 
answer. Illusory wine was later offered him, 
but Schacabac excused himself by pretending 
to be drunk already, and knocked the Barme- 
cide down. The latter saw the humour of the 
situation, forgave Schacabac, and provided 
him with food to his heart's content. 

Barmy. Mad, crazy. Sometimes spelled 
"balmy," but properly as above, as from 
"barm," froth, ferment. Burns has: 

Just now I've taen the fit o' rhyme. 

My barmie noddle's working prime. 

To James Smith, 19. 

Hence, in prison slang to put on the barmy 
stick is to feign insanity; and the "Barmy 
Ward" is the infirmary in which the insane, 
real or feigned, are confined. 

Barnabas. St. Barnabas' Day, June 1 1th. St. 
Barnabas was a fellow-labourer of St. Paul. 
His symbol is a rake, because June llth is the 
time of hay harvest. 

Barnabites. An Order of regular clerks of St. 
Paul, founded 1533, so called because the 
church of St. Barnabas, in Milan, was given to 
them to preach in. 

Barnaby Bright. An old provincial name for 
St. Barnabas* Day (June llth). Before the 
reform of the calendar it was the longest day, 
hence the jingle in Ray's Collection of Pro- 

Barnaby bright! Barnaby bright! 

The longest day and the shortest night. 

Barnaby Lecturers. Four lecturers in the 
University of Cambridge, elected annually on 
St. Barnabas' Day (June llth), to lecture on 
mathematics, philosophy, rhetoric, and logic. 

Barnaby Rudge. The principal interest in 
this book is the picture it gives of the Gordon 
Riots of 1780. For the general impression he 
gives and some of the particulars Dickens 
relied upon the descriptions given to him by 
those who remembered the event clearly. The 
book came out in parts in 1840, only sixty 
years after the riots. 

Barnacle. A species of wild goose allied to 
the brent goose, also the popular name of the 
Cirripedes, especially those which are attached 
by a stalk to floating balks of timber, the 
bottoms of ships, etc. In mediaeval times it 
was thought that the two were different forms 
of the same animal (much as are the frog and 
the tadpole), and as late as 1636 Gerard speaks 
of "broken pieces of old ships on which is 
found certain spume or froth, which in time 
breedeth into shells, and the fish which is 
hatched therefrom is in shape and habit like 
a bird." 

The origin of this extraordinary belief is very 
obscure, but it is probably due to the accident cf 
the identity of the name coupled with the presence 
in the shell-fish of the long feathery cirri which 
protrude from the shells and, when in the water, 
are very suggestive of plumage. In England the 
name was first attached to the bird. It is thought 
to be a diminutive of the M.E. bernake, a species 

of wild goose. The name of the shell-fish, on the 
other hand, may be from a diminutive (peniacula) of 
the Lat. perna, a mussel or similar shell-fish, though 
no such diminutive has been traced. With an 
identity of name it was, perhaps, natural to look for 
an identity of nature in the two creatures. 

The name is given figuratively to close and 
constant companions, hangers on, or syco- 
phants; also to placemen who stick to their 
offices but do little work, like the barnacles 
which stick to the bottoms of ships but impede 
their progress. 

Barnacles. Spectacles ; especially those of a 
heavy or clumsy make or appearance. A 
slang term, from their supposed resemblance 
in shape to the twitches or "barnacles" 
formerly used by farriers to keep under re- 
straint unruly horses during the process of 
bleeding, shoeing, etc. This instrument con- 
sisted of two branches joined at one end by a 
hinge, and was employed to grip the horse's 
nose. The word is probably a diminutive of 
the O.Fr. bernac, a kind of muzzle for horses. 

Barnard's Inn. One of the old Inns of Chan- 
cery, formerly situated on the south side of 
Holborn, east of Staple Inn, It was once 
known as "Mackworth's Inn," because Dean 
Mackworth of Lincoln (d. 1454) lived there. 

Barn-burners. Destroyers, who, like the 
Dutchman of story, would burn down their 
barns to rid themselves of the rats. 

Barnstormer. A slang term for a strolling 
player, and hence for any second-rate actor, 
especially one whose style is of an exaggerated 
declamatory kind. From the custom 9f 
itinerant troupes of actors giving their shows in 
village barns when better accommodation was 
not forthcoming. 

Barnwell, George. The chief character in The 
London Merchant, or the History of George 
Barnwell, a prose tragedy by George Lillo, 
produced in 173 1 . It is founded on a popular 
17th-century ballad which is given in Percy's 
Reliques. Barnwell was a London apprentice 
who was seduced by Sarah Millwood, a 
disappointed and repulsive woman of the town, 
to whom he gave 200 of his master's money. 
He next robbed and murdered his pious uncle, 
a rich grazier at Ludlow. Having spent the 
money, Sarah turned him out; each informed 
against the other, and both were hanged. The 
story is mentioned frequently in 19th-century 

Baron is from late Lat. baro (through O.Fr. 
barun), and meant originally "a man," 
especially opposed to something else, as a 
freeman to a slave, a husband to a wife, etc., 
and also in relation to someone else, as "the 
king's man." From the former comes the 
legal and heraldic use of the word in the 
phrase baron and feme, husband and wife: 
from the latter the more common use, the 
king's "man" or "baron" being his vassal 
holding tenure of the king by military or other 
service. To-day a baron is a member of the 
lowest order of nobility; he is addressed as 
"Lord," and by the Sovereign as "Our right 
trusty and well beloved." The premier 
English barony is that of De Ros, datine from 



Barristers' gowns 

The War of the Barons was the insurrection 
of the barons, under Simon de Montfort 
against the arbitrary government of Henry III, 
1263-65. Drayton's poem The Barons' Wars 
was published in 1603. 

Baron Bung. Mine host, master of the beer 

Baron Munchausen. See MUNCHAUSEN. 
Baron of beef. Two sirloins left uncut at 
the backbone. The baron is the backpart of 
the ox, called in Danish, the rug. Jocosely, 
but wrongly, said to be a pun upon baron and 
sir loin. 

Baronet. An hereditary titled order of com- 
moners, ranking next below barons and next 
above knights, using (like the latter) the title 
"Sir" before the Christian name, and the con- 
traction "Bt." after the surname. The degree, 
as it now exists, was instituted by James I, and 
the title was sold for 1,000 to gentlemen 
possessing not less than 1,000 per annum, for 
the plantation of Ulster, in allusion to which 
the Red Hand of Ulster (see under HAND) is 
the.badge of Baronets of England, the United 
Kingdom, and of Great Britain, also of the old 
Baronets of Ireland (created prior to the Union 
in 1800). 

The premier baronetcy is that of Bacon of 
Redgrave, originally conferred in 1611 on 
Nicholas, half-brother of Sir Francis Bacon, 
Viscount St. Albans. 

Barque, barquentine (bark, bar' ken ten). In 
the old days of sailing these words described 
two different rigs. A barque was a sailing ship 
with three masts, having the fore- and main- 
masts square rigged and the mizen-mast fore^ 
and-aft rigged. A barquentine was a three- 
masted vessel square-rigged on the fore-mast 
and fore-and-aft rigged on the main- and 
mizen-mast. See SHIP. 
Barrack. To barrack, is to jeer or shout rude 
commentaries at the players of games. The 
word came into use about 1880 m Australia 
where barracking is considered a legitimate and 
natural hazard with which, for instance, first- 
class cricketers have to contend. 
Barracks. Soldiers' quarters of a permanent 
nature. The word was introduced in the 17th 
century from Ital. baracca, a tent, through Fr. 
baroque., a barrack. 

Barrage (ba' razh) (Fr.). The original mean- 
ing of this word was an artificial dam or bar 
across a river to deepen the water on one side 
of it, as the great barrage on the Nile at 
Assouan. But from World War I the term 
is applied to a curtain of projectiles from 
artillery which is ranged to fall m front of 
advancing troops, or to keep off raiding air- 
craft, or to shield offensive operations, etc. cp. 

Creeping barrage. A curtain of artillery 
fire moving forward on a time schedule. 

Box barrage. A curtain of artillery fire laid 
down round a locality either to contain or 
exclude the enemy. 

Barratry. A legal term denoting (1) the 
offence of vexatiously exciting or maintaining 
lawsuits, and (2) the commoner use fraud 

or criminal negligence on the part of the master 
or crew of a ship to the detriment of the owners. 
Like many of our legal terms, it is from Old 

Barren's Blues. The 4th Foot ; so called from 
the colour of their facings, and William Barrel!, 
colonel of the regiment (1734-9). Now called 
"The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regi- 
ment)." They were called "Lions" from 
their badge, the Lion of England. 
Barricade. To block up a street, passage, etc. 
The term rose in France in 1588, when Henri 
de Guise returned to Paris in defiance of the 
king's order. The king sent for his Swiss 
Guards, and the Parisians tore up the pave- 
ment, threw chains across the streets, and piled 
up barrels (Fr. barriques) filled with earth and 
stones, behind which they shot down the Swiss. 

The day of the Barricades 

(1) May 12th, 15S8, when the people forced 
Henry III to flee from Pans. 

(2) August 5th, 1648, the beginning of the 
Fronde (#.v.). 

(3) July 27th, 1 830, the first day of la grande 
semaine which drove Charles X from the 

(4) February 24th, 1848, which resulted in 
the abdication of Louis Philippe. 

(5) June 25th, 1 848, when the Archbishop of 
Paris, was shot in his attempt to quell the 

(6) December 2nd, 1851, the day of the 
coup d'etat, when Louis Napoleon made his 
appeal to the people for re-election to the 
Presidency for ten years. 

Barrier Treaty. A treaty . fixing frontiers; 
especially that of November 15th, 1715, signed 
by Austria, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, 
by which the Low Countries were guaranteed 
to the House of Austria, and the Dutch were 
to garrison certain fortresses. The treaty was 
annulled at Fontainebleau in 1785, 

Barrister. One admitted to plead at the bar; 
one who has been "called to the bar." See 
BAR. They are of two degrees, the lower order 
being called simply "barristers," or formerly 
"outer" or "utter" barristers; the higher 
"King's Counsel." Until 1880 there was a 
superior order known as "Serjeants-at-Law" 
(q.v.). The King's Counsel (K.C.) is a senior, 
and when raised to this position he is said to 
"take silk," being privileged to wear a silk 
gown and, on special occasions, a full- 
bottomed wig. The junior counsel, or 
barristers, wear a plain stuff gown and a short 

A Revising Barrister. One appointed to 
revise the lists of electors for members of 

A Vacation Barrister. Formerly one newly 
called to the bar, who for three years had to 
attend in "Long Vacation." The practice 
(and consequently the term) is now obsolete. 

Barristers* Bags. See LAWYERS. 

Barristers* gowns. "Utter barristers wear 
a stuff or bombazine gown, and the puckered 
material between the shoulders 9f the gown is 
all that is now left of the purse into which, in 

Barry Cornwall 



early days, the successful litigant . . . dropped 
his ". . . pecuniary tribute ... for services 
rendered" (Notes and Queries, March llth, 
1893, p. 124). The fact is that the counsel was 
supposed to appear merely as a friend of the 
litigant. Even now he cannot recover his fees 
by legal process. 

Barry Cornwall, poet. The nom de plume of 
Bryan Waller Proctor (1787-1874). Writer of 
once-popular songs. 

Bar-sur-Aube. See CASTLE OF BUNGAY. 

Bartholomew, St. The symbol of this samt is 
a knife, in allusion to the knife with which he 
was flayed alive. He is commemorated on 
August 24th, and is said to have been martyred 
in Armenia, A.D. 44. 

Bartholomew doll. A tawdry, over-dressed 
woman; like one of the flashy, bespangled dolls 
offered for sale at Bartholomew Fair. 

Bartholomew Fair. A fair held for centuries 
from its institution in 1133 at Smithfield, 
London, on St. Bartholomew's Day: after the 
change of the calendar in 1752 it was held on 
September 3rd. While it lasted the Fair was 
the centre of London life; Elizabethan and 
Restoration playwrights and story-tellers are 
full of its amusements and dissipations. Be- 
sides the refreshment stalls, loaded with roast 
pork and cakes, there were innumerable side- 
shows : 

Here's that will challenge all the fairs 
Come buy my nuts and damsons, and Burgamy pears! 
Here's the Woman of Bay Ion, the Devil and the Pope, 
And here's the little girl, just going on the rope I 
Here's Dives and Lazarus, and the World's Creation; 
Here's the Tall Dutchwoman, the like's not in the 


Here is the booths where the high Dutch maid is, 
Here are the bears that dance like any ladies; 
Tat, tat, tat, tat, says little penny trumpet; 
Here's Jacob Hall, that does so jump it, jump it; 
Sound trumpet, sound, for silver spoon and fork, 
Come, here's your dainty pig and pork! 

Wit and Df ollery ( 1 682). 

Not even the Puritans were able to put down 
the riotings of Bartholomew Fair, and it went 
on in ever increasing disrepute until 1840, 
when it was removed to Islington. This was 
its death, and in 1855 it disappeared from utter 
neglect and inanition. Ben Jonson wrote a 
comedy satirizing the Puritans under this name. 

Bartholomew, Massacre of St. The slaugh- 
ter of the French Huguenots in the reign of 
Charles IX, begun on St. Bartholomew's Day, 
August 24th, 1572, at the instigation of Cath- 
erine de' Medici, the mother of the young king. 
It is said that 30,000 persons fell in this dread- 
ful persecution. 

Bartholomew pig. A very fat person. At 
Bartholomew Fair one of the chief attractions 
used to be a pig, roasted whole, and sold 
piping hot. Falstaff calls himself 
A little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig. 2 Henry IV, ii, 4. 

Bartolist. One skilled in law or, specifically, 
a student of Bartolus. Bartolus (1 3 14-57) was 
an eminent Italian lawyer who wrote^ extensive 
commentaries on the Corpus Juris Civilis, and 
did much to arouse and stimulate interest in 
the ancient Roman law. 


Base Tenure. Originally, tenure not by 
military ', but by base, service, such as a serf or 
villein might give: later, a tenure in fee-simple 
that was determinate on the fulfilment of some 
contingent qualification. 

Base of operations. In military parlance, 
the protected place from which operations are 
conducted, where magazines of all sorts are 
formed, and upon which (in case of reverse) 
the army can fall back. 

Bashaw (ba shaw 7 ). An arrogant, domineering 
man; a corruption of the Turkish pasha, a 
viceroy or provincial governor. 

A three-tailed bashaw. A beglerbeg or 
prince of princes among the Turks, who has a 
standard of three horse-tails borne before htm. 
The next rank is the bashaw with two tails, and 
then the bey, who has only one horse-tail. 

Bashi-bazouk (bash' i ba zook'). A savage 
and brutal ruffian The word is Turkish and 
means literally "one whose head is turned"; 
it is applied in Turkey to non-uniformed 
irregular soldiers who make up in plunder for 
what they do not get in pay. It came into 
prominence at the time of the Crimean War, 
and again in that of the Bulgarian atrocities of 

Basil (baz'il) (Gr. basihkos, royal). An 
aromatic plant so called because it was thought 
to have been used m making royal perfume. 
The story of Isabella who placed her murdered 
lover's head in a pot and planted basil on top, 
which she watered with her tears, was taken by 
Keats from Boccaccio's Decameron, V, 5. 

Basilian Monks. Monks of the Order of St. 
Basil, who lived in the 4th century. It is said 
that the Order has produced 14 popes, 1,805 
bishops, 3,010 abbots, and 11,085 martyrs. 

Basilica (ba zil' i ka) (Gr. basilikos, royal). 
Originally a royal palace, but aftervyards (in 
Rome) a large building with nave, aisles, and 
an apse at one end, used as a court of justice 
and for public meetings. By the early 
Christians they were easily adapted for 
purposes of worship ; the church of St. John 
Lateran at Rome was an ancient basilica. 

Basilics (bazil'iks). The legal code of the 
Eastern Empire, being a digest of the laws of 
Justinian and others prepared by the order of the 
Byzantine emperor Basilius, and completed by 
his son Leo towards the end of the 9th century. 

Basiliscp (ba zil is 'ko). A cowardly, bragging 
knight in Kyd's tragedy, Solyman and Perseda 
(1588). Shakespeare (King John, i, 1) makes 
the Bastard say to his mother, who asks him 
why he boasted of his ill-birth, "Knight, 
knight, good mother, Basilisco-like" i.e. my 
boasting has made me a knight. In the earlier 
play Basilisco, speaking of his name, adds, 
"Knight, good fellow, knight, knight!" and 
is answered, "Knave, good fellow, knave, 

Basilisk (baz'ilisk). The king of serpents 
(Gr. basileus, a king), a fabulous reptile, also 
called a cockatrice (#.v.), and alleged to be 
hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg; 



Bath metal 

supposed to have the power of "looking any- 
one dead on whom it fixed its eyes." 

The Basiliske . . . 

From powerful eyes close venim doth convay 
Into the lookers hart, and killeth farre away. 
SPENSER: Faerie Queene, IV, vii, 37. 
Also the name of a large brass cannon in use 
in Elizabethan times. 

Thou hast talk'd 

Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents, 
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets, 
Of basilisks, of cannon. 

SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry IV, ii, 3. 

Basinful, He's got a basinful, meaning, He's 
got just as much trouble, etc., as he can stand. 
Basket. To be left in the basket. Neglected 
or uncared for. At one time foundling 
hospitals used to place baskets at their doors 
for the reception of abandoned babies. 

To give a basket. To refuse to marry. In 
Germany it was an old custom to fix a basket 
to the roof of one who had been jilted. 

To go to the basket. Old slang for to go to 
prison: referring to the dependence of the 
lowest grade of poor prisoners (those in the 
"Hole") for their sustenance upon what 
passers-by put in the basket for them. 
Basochians (ba sosh/ yanz). An old French 
term for Clerks of the Parlements, hence, 
lawyers. The chief of the Basochians was 
called Le roi de la basoche, and had his court, 
coin, and grand officers. He reviewed his 
"subjects" every year, and administered 
justice twice a week. The basoche was 
responsible for public amusements, the presen- 
tation of farces, soties, and moralities, etc. 
Henri III suppressed the "king," and trans- 
ferred all his functions and privileges to the 

Hence monnaie de Basoche, worthless money, 
from the coins at one time made and circulated 
by the lawyers of France, which had no 
currency beyond their own community. 

Bass (bas). The inner bark of the limetree, 
or linden, properly called bast, a Teutonic 
word the ultimate origin of which is unknown. 
It is used by gardeners for packing, tying up 
plants, protecting trees, etc. ; also for making 
mats, light baskets, hats, and (in Russia) 
shoes, while in parts of Central Europe a 
cloth is woven from it. 

Bast. See BUBASTIS. 

Bastard. An illegitimate child; a French 
word, from the Old French and Provencal 
bast, a pack-saddle. The pack-saddles were 
used by muleteers as beds; hence, as bantling 
(#.v.) is a "bench-begotten" child, so is 
bastard, literally, one begotten on a pack- 
saddle bed. 

The name was formerly given to a sweetened 
Spanish wine (white or brown) made of the 
bastard muscadine grape. 

Baste. I'll baste your jacket for you, Le. cane 
you. I'll give you a thorough basting, Le. 

beating. ( A word of uncertain origin). 

Bastille (bas telO means simply a building 
(O.Fr. bastir t now bdtlr, to build). The 
famous state prison in Paris was commenced 
by Charles V as a roval chateau in 1370, and 

it was first used as a prison by Louis XI. It 
was seized and sacked by the mob in the French 
Revolution, July 14th, 1789, and on the first 
anniversary its final demolition was begun and 
the Place de la Bastille laid out on its site. 
July 14th is the national holiday in France. 
Bat. Harlequin's lath wand (Fr. batte, a 
wooden sword). 

Off his own bat. By his own exertions; on 
his own account. A cricketer's phrase, 
meaning runs won by a single player. 

To carry out one's bat (in cricket). Not to 
be "out" when the time for drawing the 
stumps has arrived. 

Parliament of Bats. See CLUB PARLIAMENT. 

To get along at a great bat. Here the word 
means beat, pace, rate of speed. 

To have bats in the belfry. To be crazy in 
the head, bats in this case being the nocturnal 

Batman. A military officer's soldier-servant ; 
but properly a soldier in charge of a bat-horse 
(or pack-horse) and its load. From Fr. bat, a 
pack-saddle (O.Fr. bast; see BASTARD). 

Batavia (bata/via). The Netherlands; so 
called from the Batavi, a German tribe which 
in Roman times inhabited the modern Hol- 
Bate me an Ace. See BOLTON. 

Bath. Knights of the Bath. This name is 
derived from the ceremony of bathing, which 
used to be practised at the inauguration of a 
knight, as a symbol of purity. The last 
knights created in this ancient form were at 
the coronation of Charles II in 1661. The 
Order was revived by George I, in 1/25, and 
remodelled by the Prince Regent in 1815. 
G.C.B. stands for Grand Cross of the Bath (the 
first class); K.C.B. Knight Commander of the 
Bath (the second class); C.B. Companion of the 
Bath (the third class). 

Bath brick. Alluvial matter compressed to 
the form of a brick, and used for cleaning 
knives, polishing metals, etc. It is made at 
Bridgwater, the material being dredged from 
the river Parrett, which runs through Bridg- 

Bath chair. A chair mounted on wheels 
and used for invalids. First used at Bath, 
which for long has been frequented by in- 
valids on account of its hot springs. 

There, go to Bath with you ! Don't talk non- 
sense. Insane persons used to be sent to Bath 
for the benefit of its mineral waters. The 
implied reproof is, what you say is so silly, you 
ought to go to Bath. 

Bath, King of. Richard Nash (1674-1762), 
generally called Beau Nash, a celebrated 
master of the ceremonies at Bath for fifty-six 

Bath King-of-Arms. See HERALDRY (Col- 
lege of Arms). 

Bath metal. An alloy like pinchbeck (<y.v.) 
consisting of about sixteen parts copper and 
five of zmc. 

Bath Oliver 



Bath Oliver. A special kind of biscuit in- 
vented by Dr. William Oliver (1695-1764), 
physician to the Bath Mineral Water Hospital, 
and an authority on gout. 

Bath post. A letter paper with a highly 
glazed surface, used by the ultra-fashionable 
visitors of Bath when that watering-place was 
at its prime. See POST-PAPER. 

Bath shillings. Silver tokens coined at Bath 
in 1811-12 and issued by various tradespeople, 
with face values of 4s , 2s., and Is. 

Bath stone. A limestone used for building, 
and f9und in the Lower Oolite, near Bath. It 
is easily wrought in the quarry but hardens on 
exposure to the air. 

Bath, St. Mary's. See BAIN MARIE. 

Bathia (bath' i a). The name given in the 
Talmud to the daughter of Pharaoh who 
found Moses in the ark of bulrushes. 

Bath-kol (b^th kolO (daughter of the voice). 
A sort of divination common among the 
ancient Jews after the gift of prophecy had 
ceased. When an appeal was made to Bath- 
kol, the first words uttered after the appeal 
were considered oracular. See Ray's Three 
Physico-Theo logical Discourses, iii, 1693. 

Bathos (ba'thos) (Gr. bathos, depth). A 
ludicrous descent from grandiloquence to 

The Taste of the Bathos is implanted by Nature 
itself in the soul of man. POPE: Bathos: Art o 
Sinking, 11 (1727). 

A good example is the well-known couplet 
given by Pope: 

And, thou, Dalhousie, the great god of war, 
Lieutenant-general to the earl of Mar. 

Ibid. y ix. 

Bathsheba (bath' she ba). In Dryden's Absa- 
lom and Achitophel, intended for the Duchess 
of Portsmouth, a favourite of Charles II. The 
allusion is to the wife of Uriah the Hittite, 
beloved by David (2 Sam. xi). 

Bathyllus (bath' i Ids). A beautiful boy of 
Samos, greatly beloved by Polycrates the 
tyrant, and by the poet Anacreon. (Horace: 
Epistle xiv, 9.) 

Batiste (ba tesf). A kind of cambric (q.v.), 
so called from Baptiste of Cambrai, who first 
manufactured it in the 13th century. 

Baton de commandement (bat' 6n de kom and' 
mon) (Fr. literally "commander's truncheon"). 
The name given by archaeologists to a kind of 
rod, usually of reindeer horn, pierced with one 
or more round holes, and sometimes embel- 
lished with caivings. It belongs to the 
Magdaleman age; but its use or purpose is 
quite unknown. 

Batrachomyomachia (ba' trak o mi' 6 ma kya). 
A storm in a puddle; much ado about nothing. 
The word is the name of a mock heroic Greek 
epic, supposed to be by Pigres of Cana, but 
formerly attributed to Homer. It tells, as its 
name imports, of a Baffle between the Frogs 
and Mice. 

Batta (bat' a). An Anglo-Indian term for 
perquisites. Properly, an extra allowance to 

troops when in the field or on special service. 
Sometimes spelt batty. 

He would rather live on half-pay in a garrison 
that could boast of a fives-court than vegetate on 
full batta where there was none. G. R. GLEIG: 
Thomas Munro, vol. i, ch. iv, p. 287. 

Battels (bat' elz). At Oxford University the 
accounts for b9ard and provisions, etc., pro- 
vided by the kitchen and also (more loosely) 
one's total accounts for these together with 
fees for tuition, membership of clubs, etc., for 
the term. The word has also been used for the 
provisions or rations themselves; which is 
the earlier use has never been decided, and 
the derivation of the word is still a matter 
for conjecture. 

Battersea. You must go to Battersea to get 
your simples cut. A reproof to a simpleton, or 
one who makes a very foolish observation. 
The market gardeners of Battersea used to 
grow simples (medicinal herbs), and the Lon- 
don apothecaries went there to select or cut 
such as they wanted. 

Battle. A pitched battle. A battle which has 
been planned, and the ground pitched on or 
chosen beforehand. 

Battle royal. A certain number of cocks, 
say sixteen, are pitted together; the eight 
victors are then pitted, then the four, and last 
of all the two; and the winner is victor of the 
battle royal. Metaphorically, the term is 
applied to any contest of wits, etc. 

A close battle. Originally a naval fight^at 
"close quarters,** in which opposing ships 
engage each other side by side. 

Line of battle. The formation of the ships 
in a naval engagement. A line of battle ship 
was a capital ship fit to take 'part in a main 
attack. Frigates did not join in a general 

Half the battle. Half determines the battle. 
Thus, "The first stroke is half the battle," 
that is, the way in which the battle is begun 
determines what the end will be. 

Trial by battle. The submission of a legal 
suit to a combat between the litigants, under 
the notion that God would defend the right. 

Wager of battle. One of the forms of ordeal 
or appeal to the judgment of God, in -the old 
Norman courts of the kingdom. It consisted 
of a personal combat between the plaintiff and 
the defendant, in the presence of the court itself. 
Abolished by 59 Geo. Ill, c. 46 (1819). 

Battle above the Clouds. See CLOUDS. 

Battle bowler. This was a nickname given 
in World War I to the steel helmet or "tin 
hat" worn at the front. Used again 1939-45, 
when it was also called a "tin topee." 

Battle of the Books. A satire by Swift 
(written 1697, published 1704), on the literary 
squabble as to the comparative value of ancient 
and modern authors. In the battle the ancient 
books fight against the modern books in St. 
James's Library. See BOYLE CONTROVERSY. 

Battle of Britain. The prolonged aerial 
operations over Southern England and the 
Channel, August-September 1940, in which the 




German Luftwaffe endeavoured to seize 
superiority in the air from the R.A.F. (as a 
necessary prelude to the invasion of Britain) 
and was defeated. 
Battle of the Frogs and Mice. See BATRA- 


Battle of the Giants. See GIANTS. 

Battle of the Herrings, See HERRINGS. 

Battle of the Nations. See NATIONS. 

Battle of the Poets, The. A satirical poem 
(1725) by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, 
in which the versifiers of the time are brought 
into the field. 

Battle of the Spurs. See SPURS. 

Battle of the Standard. See STANDARD. 

Battle of the Three Emperors. See THREE 

Battle-painter, The, or Delle Battaglie. 
Michael Angelo Cerquozzi (1600-1660), a 
Roman artist noted for his battle-scenes, was 
so called. 

Battle, Sarah. A character in one of Lamb's 
Essays of Elm, who considered that whist "was 
her life business; her duty; the thing she came 
into the world to do, and she did it. She un- 
bent her mind afterwards over a book." 

Battledore. Originally the wooden bat used 
in washing linen. The etymology of the word 
is not at all certain, but there is an old Pro- 
vengal batedor, meaning a washing-beetle. 

Battledore book. A name sometimes 
formerly given to a horn-book (#.v.), because 
of its shape. Hence, perhaps, the phrase 
"Not to know B from a battledore." See B. 

Battue (batu). A French word meaning 
literally "a beating," used in English as a 
sporting term to signify a regular butchery of 
game, the "guns*' being collected at a certain 
spot over which the birds are driven by the 
beaters who "beat" the bushes, etc., for the 
purpose. Hence, a wholesale slaughter, 
especially of unarmed people. 

Batty. See BATTA. 

Baturlio marina. See BARISAL GUNS. 

Baubee. See BAWBEE, 

Bauble. A fool should never hold a bauble in 
his hand. "*Tis a foolish bird that fouls its 
own nest." The bauble was a short stick, 
ornamented with ass's ears, carried by licensed 
fools. (O.Fr. babe/, or baubel, a child's toy; 
perhaps confused with the M.E. babyll or 
babulle, a stick with a thong, from bablyn, to 
waver or oscillate.) 

If every fool held a bauble, fuel would be 
dear. The proverb indicates that the world 
contains a vast number of fools. 

To deserve the bauble. To be so foolish as 
to be qualified to carry the fool's emblem of 

Baucis. See PHILEMON. 

Bauld Wullie. See BELTED WILL. 

Baulk. See BALK. 

Baviad, The (bav' i ad). A merciless satire by 
Gifford on the Delia Cruscan poetry, pub- 
lished 1794, and republished the following year 
with a second part called The M&vfad. Bavius. 
and Maevms were two minor poets pilloried 
by Virgil (Eclogue, iii, 9). 

He may with foxes plough, and milk he-goats, 
Who praise Bavius or on Maevius dotes. 
And their names are still used for inferior 

May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill,. 
May every Bavius have his Bufo still. 

POPE Prologue to Satires, 249. 

Bavieca. The Cid's horse. 
Bavius. See BAVIAD. 

Bawbee. A debased silver coin representing 
six Scots pennies and about equal in value to a 
halfpenny English, first issued in 1541, in the 
reign of James V. The word is probably 
derived from the laird of Sillebawby, a con- 
temporary mint-master, as appears from the- 
Treasurer's account, September 7th, 1541, "/ 
argento receptis a Jacobo Atzinsone, et Alex- 
andra Orok de Sillebawby respective" 

Jenny's bawbee. Her marriage portion. 
Wha'll hire, wha'll hire, wha*ll hire me? 
Three plumps and a wallop for ae bawbee. 

An old rhyme embodying a reflection on the 
supposed parsimony and poverty of the Scots. 
The tradition is that the people of Kirkmanhoe 
were so poor, they could not afford meat for 
their broth. A cobbler bought four sheep- 
shanks, and for the payment of one bawbee 
would "plump" one of them into the boiling 
water, and give it a "wallop" or whisk round. 
The sheep-shank was called a gustin bone, and 
was supposed to give a rich "gust" to the 

Bawtry. Like the saddler of Bawtry, who was 
hanged for leaving his liquor (Yorkshire pro- 
verb) . It was customary for criminals on their 
way to execution to stop at a certain tavern in 
York for a "parting draught." The saddler 
of Bawtry refused to accept the liquor and was 
hanged. If he had stopped a few minutes at 
the tavern, his reprieve, which was on the road, 
would have arrived in time to save his life. 

Baxterians. Followers of Richard Baxter 
(1615-91), a noted English Nonconformist 
His chief doctrines were (1) That Christ died 
in a spiritual sense for the elect, and in a general 
sense for all; (2) that there is no such thing as 
reprobation; (3) that even saints may fall from 
grace. He thus tried to effect a compromise 
between the "heretical" opinions of the 
Arminians and the Calvinists. 

Bay. The shrub was anciently supposed to be 
a preservative against lightning, because it was 
the tree of Apollo. Hence, according to Pliny, 
Tiberius and other Roman emperors wore a 
wreath of bay as an amulet, especially in 

Reach the bays 

I'll tie a garland here about his head; 
'Twill keep my boy from lightning. 

WEBSTER: Vittona Corutnbona, v, 1. 

The bay being sacred to Apollo is accounted 

for by the legend that he fell in love with, and 

was rejected by, the beautiful Daphne, 

daughter of the river-god Peneos, in Thessaly, 


who had resolved to pass her life in perpetual 
virginity. She fled from him and sought the 
protection of her father, who changed her into 
the bay-tree, whereupon Apollo declared that 
henceforth he would wear bay leaves instead 
of the oak, and that all who sought his favour 
should follow his example. 

The withering of a bay-tree was supposed to 
be the omen of a death. Holinshed refers to 
this superstition: 

In this yeare [1399J in a manner throughout all 
the realme of England, old baie trees withered, and, 
afterwards, contrane to all mens thinking, grew 
greene againe; a strange sight, and supposed to 
impart some unknown event. III, 496, 2, 66. 

Shakespeare makes use of this note in his 
Richard H, ii, 4: 

"Tis thought the king is dead. We'll not stay 

The bay-trees in our country are withered. 

In another sense Bay is a reddish-brown 

colour, generally used of horses. The word 

is the Fr. baf, from Lat. badius., a term used 

by Varro in his list of colours appropriate to 

horses. Bayard (<?.v.) means "bay-coloured." 

Crowned with bays. A reward of victory: 
from the custom that obtained in ancient Rome 
of so crowning a victorious general. 

The Queen's Bays. The 2nd Dragoon 
Guards; so called because they are mounted on 
bay horses: often known, "for short,'* as The 

Bay at the moon, To. See BARK. 

Bay salt. Coarse-grained salt, formerly 
obtained by slow evaporation of sea-water and 
used for curing meat, etc. Perhaps so called 
because 01 iginally imported from the shores of 
the Bay of Biscay. "Bay," in this case, does 
not signify the colour. 

Bay Psalm Book. A metrical version of the 
Psalms published by Stephen Daye at Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, in 1680. One of the 
first printed works of the New World, and now 
highly prized. "What the Gutenberg Bible 
is to Europe, the Bay Psalm Book is to the 
United States" A. E. Newton. In 1947 a 
copy changed hands at auction for $151, 000.00. 

Bay State, The. Massachusetts. In Colon- 
ial days its full title was "The Colony of 
Massachusetts Bay": hence the name. 

Bayadere (ba ya' dar). A Hindu dancing girl 
employed both for religious dances and for 
private amusement. The word is a French 
corruption of the Portuguese bailadeira, a 
female dancer. 

Bayard (ba'yard). A horse of incredible 
swiftness, given by Charlemagne to the four 
sons of Aymon. See AYMON. If only one 
of the sons mounted, the horse was of the 
ordinary size; but if all four mounted, his body 
became elongated to the requisite length. He 
is introduced in Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, 
Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and elsewhere, and 
legend relates that he is still alive and can be 
heard neighing in the Ardennes on Midsummer 
Day. The name is used for any valuable or 
wonderful horse, and means a "high bay- 
coloured horse." 

Bold as Blind Bayard. Foolhardy. If a 
blind horse leaps, the chance is he will fall into 

83 Bayonet 

a ditch. Grose mentions the following ex- 
pression, To ride Bayard of ten toes "Going 
by the marrow-bone stage" i.e. walking. 

Keep Bayard in the stable. Keep what is of 
value under lock and key. 

Bayard, The Chevalier de. Pierre du Terrail 
(1475-1524), a celebrated French knight and 
national hero, distinguished in the Italian 
campaigns of Charles VIII, Louis XII, and 
Francois I. Le chevalier sans peur et sans 

The Bayard of the East, or of the Indian 
Army. Sir James Outram (1803-63). 

The British Bayard. Sir Philip Sidney (1 554- 

The Polish Bayard. Prince Joseph Ponia- 
towski (1762-1813), who served with the 
greatest distinction under Napoleon. 

Bayardo. The famous steed of Rinaldo (#.v.), 
which once belonged to Amadis of Gaul. See 

Bayardo's Leap. Three stones, about thirty 
yards apart, near Sleaford. It is said that 
Rinaldo was riding on his favourite steed, when 
the demon of the place sprang up behind him; 
but Bayardo in terror took three tremendous 
leaps and unhorsed the fiend. 

Bayes (baz). A character in the Rehearsal, 
by the Duke of Buckingham (1671), designed 
to satirize Dryden. The name refers to the 

Dead men may rise again, like Bayes's 
troops, or the savages in Ihe Fantocini. In the 

Rehearsal a battle is fought between foot- 
soldiers and great hobby-horses. At last 
Drawcansir kills all on both sides. Smith then 
asks how they are to go off, to which Bayes 
replies, "As they came on upon their legs"; 
upon which they all jump up alive again. 

Bayeux Tapestry (bl' yer). A strip of linen 
231 ft. long and 20 in. wide on which is 
represented in tapestry the mission of Harold 
to William, Duke of Normandy (William the 
Conqueror), and all the incidents of his 
history from then till his death at Hastings in 
1066. It is preserved at Bayeux, and is 
supposed to be the work of Matilda, wife 
of William the Conqueror. 

In the tapestry, the Saxons fight on foot with 
javelin and battle-axe, and bear shields with the 
British characteristic of a boss in the centre. The 
men are moustached. 

The Normans are on horseback, with long shields 
and pennoned lances The men are not only shaven, 
but most of them have a complete tonsure on th 
back of the head, whence the spies said to Harold, 
** There are more priests in the Norman army than 
men in Harold's." 

Bayonet (ba' o net). A stabbing weapon fixed 
to a rifle for shock action by infantry. Its 
name is said to be taken from Bayonne where 
it was first made. The bayonet is mentioned 
in the memoirs of Puysegur, in 1647; it was 
introduced into the English army in 1672. In 
its original form it was a plug bayonet, fitted 
into the barrel of the musket, and had there- 
fore to be removed before the gun could be 




Bayonets. A synonym of "rank and file," 
that is, privates and corporals of infantry. As, 
"the number of bayonets was 25,000." 

It is on the bayonets that a Quartermaster-General 
relies for his working and fatigue parties. Howirr: 
Hist. ofEng. (year 1854, p. 260). 

Bayou State (br yoo). The State of Missis- 
sippi; so called from its numerous bayous. A 
bayou is a creek, or sluggish and marshy over- 
flow of a river or lake. The word may be of 
native American origin, but is probably a 
corruption of Fr. boyau, gut. 

Bazooka. American one-man, short-range 
anti-tank weapon (1941-45) The name be- 
came freely applied to the British and German 
weapons of the same nature (P.I.A.T. pro- 
jectile infantry anti-tank and Panzerfaiisi). 

To be bazookaed. To be in a tank struck by 
such a projectile. 

Beachcomber. One who, devoid of other 
means of existence, subsists on what flotsam 
and jetsam he can find on the seashore. The 
word originated in New Zealand, where it is 
found in print by 1844; an earlier form (1827) 
was beach ranger, analogous to Bushranger 

Bead. From A.S. -bed (in gebed), a prayer, 
biddan, to pray. "Bead,'* thus originally 
meant simply "a prayer"; but as prayers were 
"told" (i.e. account kept of them) on a 
"paternoster," the word came to be trans- 
ferred to the small globular perforated body a 
number of which, threaded on a string, 
composed this paternoster or "rosary." 

To count one's beads. To say one's prayers. 

To draw a bead on. See DRAW. 

To pray without one's beads. To be out of 

one's reckoning. 

Baily's beads. When the disc of the moon 
has (in an eclipse) reduced that of the sun to a 
thin crescent, the crescent assumes the appear- 
ance somewhat resembling a string of beads. 
This was first described in detail by Francis 
Baily in 1836, whence the name of the phenom- 
enon, the cause of which is the sun shining 
through the depressions between the lunar 

St. Cuthbert's beads. Single joints of the 
articulated stems of encrimtes. They are 
perforated in the centre, and bear a fanciful 
resemblance to a cross; hence, they were once 
used for rosaries (q.v.). St. Cuthbert was a 
Scottish monk of the 6th century, and may be 
called the St. Patrick of the Border. Legend 
relates that he sits at night on a rock in Holy 
Island and uses the opposite rock as his anvil 
while he forges the beads. 

On a rock of Lmdisfarn 
St. Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame 
The sea-born beads that bear his name. 

SCOTT: Marmion. 

St. Martin's beads. Flash jewellery. St. 
Martin-le-Grand was at one time a noted place 
for sham jewellery. 

Bead-house. An almshouse for beadsmen. 

Bead-roll. A list of persons to be prayed 
for; hence, also, any list. 

Beadsman or Bedesman. Properly, one who 
prays; hence, an inmate of an almshouse* 
because most charities of this class were 
instituted so that the inmates might "pray for 
the soul of the founder." See BEAD. 
Seated with some grey beadsman. 

CRABBE: Borough. 

Beadle. A person whose duty it is to bid or 
cite persons to appear to a summons; also a 
church servant, whose duty it is to bid the 
parishioners to attend the vestry, or to give 
notice of vestry meetings. It is ultimately a 
Teutonic word (Old High Ger. bitel, one who 
asks, whence the A.S. beodan, to bid, and 
bydel, a herald), but it came to us through the 
O.Fr. badel, a herald. See BEDEL. 

Beak. Slang for a police magistrate, but 
formerly (16th and 17th cent.) for a constable. 
Various fanciful derivations have been sug- 
gested, but the etymology of the word is 

Beaker. A drinking-glass ; a rummer; a wide- 
mouthed glass vessel with a lip, used in 
scientific experiments. A much-travelled 
word, having come to us by way of the Scan- 
dinavian bikkar, a cup (Dut. beker; Ger. 
becher), from Greek bfkos, a wine-jar, which 
was of Eastern origin. Our pitcher is really 
the same word. 

O for a beaker full of the warm South, 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene. 

KEATS: Ode to a Nightingale. 

Beam. Thrown on my beam-ends. Driven to 
my last shift. An old phrase of the days of 
sail, for a ship was said to be on her beam-ends 
when she was laid by a heavy gale completely 
on her side, i.e. the part where her beams end. 
Not infrequently the only means of righting 
her in such a case was to cut away her masts. 

On the starboard beam. A distant point out 
at sea on the right-hand side, and at right 
angles to the keel. 

On the port beam. A similar point on the 
left-hand side. 

On the weather beam. On that side of a ship 
which faces the wind. 

To kick the beam. See KICK. 

To be on the beam is to be on the right course. 
A modern phrase coming from the directing of 
aircraft by means of a radio beam. 

Beam (of a stag). The main trunk of the 
horn, the part that bears the branches (A.S. 
beam, a tree). 

Bean. Every bean has its black. Nemo sine 
viths nascitur (Everyone has his faults). The 
bean has a black eye. (Ogm grano ha la sua 

He has found the bean in the cake. He has 

got a prize in the lottery, has come to some 
unexpected good fortune. The allusion is to 
twelfth cakes m which a bean is buried. When 
the cake is cut up and distributed, he who gets 
the bean is the twelfth-night king. See BEAN- 

Jack and the bean-stalk. See JACK. 

Old bean. A slang expression of good- 
natured familiarity that became very common 
early in the 20th century. 




Bean-feast. Much the same as wayz-goose 
(q.v.). A feast given by an employer to those 
he employs. Probably so called because either 
beans or a bean-goose used to be a favourite 
dish on such occasions. 

Bean-goose. A migratory bird which 
appears in England in the autumn; so named 
from a mark on its bill like a horse-bean. It is 
next in size to the greylag-goose. 

Bean-king. Rey de Habas, the child 
appointed to play the part of king on twelfth- 
night. Twelfth-night was sometimes known 
as the Bean-kings festival. 

Beans. Slang for property, money; also 
for a sovereign, and (formerly) a guinea In 
this sense it is probably the O.Fr. cant, biens, 
meaning property; but in such phrases as not 
worth a bean, the allusion is to the bean's small 

Like a beanc [alms-money] in a monkeshood. 

Blue beans. Bullets or shot; hence, "Three 
blue beans in a blue bladder," a rattle for 

Fort. : (Of his purse). Hark! dost rattle? 

Strad.: Yes, like three beans in a blue bladder, 
rattle bladder, rattle; your purse is like my belly, 
th' one's without money, th' other without meat. 
DEKKER: Old Fortunatus, I, ii. 

Three small bullets or large shot in a bladder 
would make a very good rattle for a child. 

Beans are in flower. A catch-phrase said 
to one by way of accounting for his being so 
silly. Our forefathers imagined that the per- 
fume of the flowering bean made men silly or 

He knows how many beans make five. He is 
"up to snuff"; he is no fool; he is not to 
be imposed upon. The reference is to an old 
trap. Everyone knows that five beans make 
five, and on this answer being correctly given 
the questioner goes on, "But you don't know 
how many blue beans make five white ones." 
The complete answer to this is "Five if 

Full of beans. Said of a fresh and spirited 
horse; hence, in good form; full of health and 

I'll give him beans. I'll give him a thrashing. 
There is a similar French proverb, S'il me 
donne des pois, je lid donnerai des feves (i.e. If 
he gives me peas I will give him beans), I will 
give him tit for tat, a Roland for an Oliver. 

In ancient times Pythagoras forbade the use 
of beans to his disciples not the use of beans 
as food, but for political elections. Magis- 
trates and other public officers were elected by 
beans cast by the voters into a helmet, and 
what Pythagoras advised was that his disciples 
should not interfere with politics or "love 
beans" i.e. office. But according to Aris- 
totle the word bean implied venery, and that 
the prohibition to "abstain from beans" was 
equivalent to "keeping the body chaste." 

Without a bean. Penniless, "broke." 

To spill the beans. To give away a secret; 
to let the cat out of the bag. 

Bear. In ^ the phraseology of the Stock 
Exchange, a speculator for a fall. (Cp, BULL.) 

Thus, to operate for a bear, or to bear the 
market, is to use every effort to depress prices, 
so as to buy cheap and make a profit on the 
rise. Such a transaction is known as a Bear 

The term is of some antiquity, and was 
current at least as early as the South Sea 
Bubble, in the 18th century. Its probable 
origin will be found in the proverb, "Selling 
the skin before you have caught the bear." 
One who sold stocks in this way was formerly 
called a bearskin jobber. 

The Bear. Albert, margrave of Branden- 
burg (1106-70). He was so called from his 
heraldic device. 

The bloody bear, in Dryden's The Hind and 
the Panther, means the Independents. 

The bloody bear, an independent beast, 

Unlicked to form, in groans her hate expressed. 
Pt. i, 35, 36. 

In mediaeval times it was popularly sup- 
posed that bear-cubs were born as shapeless 
masses of flesh and fur, and had to be literally 
"licked into shape" by their mothers. Hence 
the reference in the above quotation, and the 
phrase "to lick into shape" (q.v.). 

The Great Bear, and Little Bear. These 
constellations were so named by the Greeks, 
and their word, arktos, a bear, is still kept in 
the names Arcturus (the bear-ward, ourcs, 
guardian) and Arctic (tf.v.). The Sanskrit 
name for ths Great Bear is from the verb rakh. 
to be bright, and it has been suggested that the 
Greeks named it arktos as a result of con- 
fusion between the two words. Cp. CHARLES'S 
The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous 


Seems to cast water on the burning bear 
And quench the guards of th' ever-fixed pole. 

SHAKESPEARE: Othello, ii, 1. 

The guards referred to in the above extract 
are j8 and y of Ursa Minor. They are so 
named, not from any supposed guarding that 
they do, but from the Sp. guardare, to behold, 
because of the great assistance they were to 
mariners in navigation. 

The classical fable is that Calisto, a nymph 
of Diana, had two sons by Jupiter, which Juno 
changed into bears, and Jupiter converted into 

'Twas here we saw Calisto's star retire 
Beneath the waves, unawed by Juno's ire. 

CAMO&NS: Lusiad, Bk. v. 

Th3 Northern Bear. In political cartoons, 
etc., Russia is depicted as a bear. 

A bridled bear. A young nobleman under 
the control of a travelling tutor. See BEAR- 

Th^ bear and ragged staff. A crest of the 
Nevil es and later Earls of Warwick, often 
used as a public-house sign. The first earl is 
said to have been Arth or Arthgal, of the 
Round Table, whose cognizance was a bear, 
arth meaning a bear (Lat. ursa). Morvid, the 
second earl, overcame, in single combat, a 
might? giant, who came against him with a 
club consisting of a tree pulled up by the roots, 
but stripped of its branches. In remembrance 
of his victory over the giant he added "the 
ragged staff." 



The bear and the tea-kettle. Said of a 
person who injures himself by foolish rage. 
The story is that one day a bear entered a hut 
in Kamschatka, where a kettle was on the fire. 
Master Bruin smelt at it and burnt his nose; 
greatly irritated, he seized it with his paws, and 
squeezed it against his breast. This, of course, 
made matters worse, for the boiling water 
scalded him terribly, and he growled in agony 
till some neighbours put an end to his life with 
their guns. 

A bear sucking his paws. It used to be 
believed that when a bear was deprived of food 
it sustained life* by sucking its paws. Th^ 
same was said of the badger. The phrasers 
applied to industrious idleness. 

As savage as a bear with a sore head. Un- 
reasonably ill-tempered. 

As a bear has no tail, 
For a lion he'll fail. 

The same as Ne sutor supra crepidam (Let 
not the cobbler aspire above his last). Robert 
Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a descendant of the 
Warwick family, is said to have changed his 
own crest, "a green lion with two tails," for 
the Warwick "bear and ragged staff." When 
made governor of the Low Countries, he was 
suspected of aiming at absolute supremacy, or 
the desire of being the monarch of his fellows, 
as the lion is monarch among beasts. Some 
wit wrote under his crest the Latin verse, Ursa 
caret cauda non queat esse leo, i.e. 
Your bear for lion needs must fail, 
Because j'our true bears have no tail. 

To take the bear by the tooth. To put your 
head into the lion's mouth; needlessly to run 
into danger. 

Bear garden. This place is a perfect bear 
garden that is, full of confusion, noise, tumult, 
and quarrels. In Elizabethan and Stuart times 
the gardens where bears were kept and baited 
for public amusement were famous for all 
sorts of riotous disorder. 

Bear-leader. A common expression in the 
18th century denoting a travelling tutor who 
escorted a young nobleman, or youth of 
wealth and fashion, on the "Grand Tour." 
From the old custom of leading muzzled bears 
about the streets, and making them show off in 
order to attract notice and money. This 
practice was made illegal only in 1925. 

Bearl (said Dr. Pangloss to his pupil). Under 
favour young gentleman, I am the bear-leader, being 
appointed your tutor. G. COLMAN: Heir-at-Law. 

Bear, To. Come, bear a hand! Come and 
render help. Bring a hand, or bring your hand 
to bear on the work going on. 

To bear arms. To do military service; to 
be entitled to heraldic coat of arms and crest. 

To bear away (nautical). To keep away 
from the wind. 

To bear one company. To be one's com- 

His faithful dog shall bear him company. 

POPE: Essay on Man., epistle i, 112. 

To bear down. To overpower. 

To bear down upon (nautical). To approach 
from the weather side. 

Bear in mind. Remember; do not forget. 
Carry in y our recollection. 

To bear out. To corroborate, to confirm. 

To bear up. To support; to keep the spirits 

To bear with. To show forbearance, to 
endure with complacency. 

To bear the bell. See BELL. 

Beard. Among the Jews, Turks, and Eastern 
nations generally the beard has long been 
regarded as a sign of manly dignity. To cut 
it off wilfully was a deadly insult, and the Jews 
\were strictly forbidden to cut it off cere- 
monially, though shaving it was a sign of 
mourning. No greater insult could be 
offered a man than to pluck or even touch his 
beard, hence the phrase to beard one, to defy 
him, to contradict him flatly, to insult him. 
By touching or swearing by one's own beard 
one's good faith was assured. 

The dyeing of beards is mentioned by Strabo, 
and Bottom the Weaver satirizes the custom 
when he undertakes to play Pyramus, and asks, 
"What beard were I best to play it in ? " 

I will discharge it in either your straw-colour 
beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in- 
grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard 
(your perfect yellow). 

Midsummer Night" s Dream, i, 2. 

Beards are encouraged in the Royal Navy, 
but not permitted in the other Services, though 
in World War II the Army turned a blind eye 
to the beards of some individuals performing 
unusually hazardous duty behind the enemy's 

To beard the lion in his den. To defy person- 
ally or face to face. 

To make one's beard. To have one wholly 
at your mercy, as a barber has when holding 
a man's beard to dress it, or shaving the chin 
of a customer, So, to be able to do what you 
like with one, to outwit or delude him. 

Though they preye Argus, with his hundred yen, 

To be my warde-cors, as he can best, 

In feith, he shal nat kepe me but me lest; 

Yet coude I make his berd, so moot I thee. 

CHAUCER. Wife of Bath's Prologue, 358. 

I told him to his beard. I told him to his face, 
regardless of consequences; I spoke to him 
openly and fearlessly. 

Maugre his beard. In spite of him. 

"'Tis merry in hall when beards wag all" 
i.e. when feasting goes on. 
Then was the minstrel's harp with rapture heard; 

The song of ancient days gave huge delight; 
With pleasure too did. wag the minstrel's beard, 
For Plenty courted him to drink and bite. 

PETER PINDAR: Elegy to Scotland. 
To laugh at a man's beard. To attempt to 
make a fool of him to deceive by ridiculous 

"By the prophet! but he laughs at our beards," 
exclaimed the Pacha angrily. "These are foolish 
Jies." MARRYAT: Pacha of Many Tales. 

To laugh in one's beard. To laugh up one's 
sleeve, that is, surreptitiously. 

To lie in one's beard. To accuse someone 
of so doing is to stress the severity of the 
accusation (Elizabethan). 




To run in one's beard. To offer opposition 
to a person ; to do something obnoxious to a 
person before his face. 

With the beard on the shoulder. (Sp.). In 
the attitude of listening to overhear something; 
with circumspection, looking in all directions 
for surprises and ambuscades. 

They rode, as the Spanish proverb expresses it, 
"with the beard on the shoulder," looking round 
from time to^time, and using every precaution . . 
against pursuit. SCOTT: Pevenl oj the Peak, ch. vii. 

Tax upon beards. Peter the Great imposed 
a tax upon beards. Every one above the 
lowest class had to pay 100 roubles, and the 
lowest class had to pay a copeck, for enjoying 
this "luxury." Clerks were stationed at the 
gates of every town to collect the beard tax. 

Bearded Master (Magister barbatus). So 
Persius styled Socrates, under the notion that 
the beard is the symbol of wisdom. 

The bearded. A surname or nickname 
(Pogonatus) given to Constantine IV, Emperor 
of the East, 668-85; also to Baldwin IV, Count 
of Flanders, 988-1036, Geoffrey the Crusader, 
Bouchard of the house of Montmorency, and 
St. Paula. See BEARDED WOMEN. 

Bearded women. St. Paula the Bearded, a 
Spanish saint of uncertain date of whom it is 
said that when being pursued by a man she 
fled to a crucifix and at once a beard and 
moustache appeared on her face, thus dis- 
guising her and saving her from her would-be 
ravisher. A somewhat similar story is told of 
St. Wilgefortis, a mythical saint supposed to 
have been one of seven daughters born at a 
birth to a king of Portugal; also of the English 
saint, St. Uncumber. 

Many bearded women are recorded in 
history; among them may be mentioned: 

Bartel Graetje, of Stuttgart, born 1562. 

Charles XII had in his army a woman whose 
beard was a yard and a half long. She was 
taken prisoner at the battle of Pultawa, and 
presented to the Czar, 1724. 

Mile Bois de Chene, born at Geneva in 
1834, and exhibited in London in 1852-3; 
she had a profuse head of hair, a strong black 
beard, large whiskers, and thick hair on her 
arms and back. 

Julia Pastrana, found among the Digger 
Indians of Mexico, was exhibited in London in 
1857; died, 1862, at Moscow; was embalmed 
by Professor Suckaloff; and the embalmed 
body was exhibited in London. 
Bearings. I'll bring him to his bearings. I'll 
bring him to his senses, put him on the right 
track. Bearings is a term in navigation 
signifying the direction in which an object is 
seen. Thus to keep one's bearings is to keep 
on the right course, in the right direction. 

To lose one's bearings. To become be- 
wildered; to get perplexed as to which is the 
right road. 

To take the bearings. To ascertain the 
relative position of some object. 
Bearnais, Le. Henry IV of France (1553-1610); 
so called from Le Beam, his native province. 
Beast. The Number of the Beast. See 

Beast of Belsen. In World War II the name 
applied to Joseph Kramer, commandant of the 
notorious Belsen Concentration Camp. 

Beasts of heraldry. In English heraldry all 
manner of creatures have been borne as 
charges or as crests, the principal being the 
lion, bear, bull, boar, cat, swallow (called a 
martlet), pelican, unicorn, stag. The attitude 
or position of the animals is described as 
follows: couchant, squatting, with head erect; 
dormant, lying down asleep ; passant, walking,, 
with one paw raised; passant guardant, walking 
but looking at the spectator; rampant, on its 
hind legs; rampant combattant, two beasts 
rampant facing one another; rampant endorsed., 
two beasts rampant back to back. A beast 
can be proper, which is emblazoned in some 
colour similar to its natural colour; naissant, 
showing its upper half as though it were 
emerging from the womb ; erased, showing its 
head and shoulders only. 

Beat (A.S. beataii). The first sense of the word 
was that of striking; that of overcoming or 
defeating followed on as a natural extension. 
A track, line, or appointed range. A walk 
often trodden or beaten by the feet, as a 
policeman's beat. The word means a beaten 

Not in my beat. Not in my line; not in the 
range of my talents or inclination. 

Off his beat. Not on duty; not in his 
appointed walk; not his speciality or line. 

Off his own beat his opinions were of no value. 
EMERSON: English Traits, ch. i. 

On his beat. In his appointed walk; on 

Out of his beat. In his wrong walk; out of 
his proper sphere. 

Dead beat. So completely beaten or 
worsted as to have no leg to stand on. Like a 
dead man with no fight left in him; quite tired 

Dead beat escapement (of a watch). One in 
which there is no reverse motion of the escape- 

That beats Banagher. See BANAGHER: TER- 

To beat about. A nautical phrase, meaning 
to tack against the wind. 

To beat about the bush. To approach a 
matter cautiously or in a roundabout way; 
to shilly-shally; perhaps because one goes 
carefully when beating a bush to find if any 
game is lurking within. 

To beit an alarm. To give notice of danger 
by beat of drum. 

To beat a retreat (Fr. battre en retraite); 
to beat to arms; to beat a charge. Military 
terms similar to the above. 

To beat down. To make a seller abate his 

To beat or drum a thing into one. To repeat 
as a drummer repeats his strokes on a drum. 

To beat hollow, or to a mummy, a frazzle, to 
ribbons, a jelly, etc. To beat wholly, utterly, 


Beautiful Parricide 

To beat the air. To strike out at nothing, 
merely to bring one's muscles into play, as 
pugilists do before they begin to fight; to toil 
without profit; to work to no purpose. 

So fight L not as one that beateth the air. 1 Cor. 
ix, 26. 

To beat the booby. See BOOBY. 

To beat the bounds. See BOUNDS. 

To beat the bush. To allow another to profit 
by one's exertions; "one beat the bush and 
another caught the hare." "Other men 
laboured, and ye are entered into their labours" 
(John iv, 38). The allusion is to beaters, whose 
business it is to beat the bushes and start the 
game for a shooting party, 

To beat the devil's tattoo. See TATTOO. 

To beat the Dutch. To draw a very long 
bow; to say something very incredible. To 
beat the band means the same thing. 

To beat time. To mark time in music by 
beating or moving the hands, feet, or a baton. 

To beat up against the tyind. To tack against 
an adverse wind ; to get the better of the wind. 

To beat up someone's quarters. To hunt 
out where he lives ; to visit without ceremony. 
A military term, signifying to make an un- 
expected attack on an enemy in camp. 

To beat up the quarters of some of our less-known 
relations. LAMB: Essays of Eha. 

To beat up recruits or supporters. To hunt 
them up or call them together, as soldiers are 
summoned by beat of drum. 

To beat one with his own staff. To confute 
him by his own words. An atgitmentum ad 

Can High Church bigotry go farther than this? 
And how well have I since been beaten with mine 
own staff. J. WESLEY. [He refers to his excluding 
Bolzms from communion because he had not been 
canonlcally baptized.] 

Beati Possidentes (be a' tl pos i den' tez). Bles- 
sed are those who have (for they shall receive). 
^Possession is nine points of the law." 

Beatiflc Vision. The sight of God, or of 
the blessed in the realms of heaven, especially 
that granted to the soul at the instant of death. 
See Is. vi 3 1-4, and Acts vii, 55, 56. 

Beatification (be at i fi ka' shun). In the R.C. 
Church this is a solemn act by which a de- 
ceased person is formally declared by the Pope 
to be one of the blessed departed and therefore 
a proper subject for a mass and office in his 
honour, generally v>ith some local restriction. 
Beatification is usually, though not necessarily, 
a step to canonization. 

Beatitude (be at' it tad). In theology this 
is the perfect good which completely satisfies 
all desire. 

The Beatitudes are the eight blessings pro- 
nounced by Our Lord at the opening of the 
Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 3-11). 

Beatrice. Celebrated by Dante in the Vita 
Nuova and the Divina Commedia, this girl was 
born 1266 and died in 1290, under twenty-four 
years old. She was a native of Florence, of the 
Portinari family, and married Simone de* Bardi 
in 1287. Dante married ^Gemma Donati 
about two years after Beatrice's death. 

Beau (bo). The French word, which means 
"fine," or "beautiful," has, in England, often 
been prefixed to the name of a man of fashion, 
or a fop as an epithet of distinction. The 
following are well known: 

Beau Brummel. George Bryan Brummel 

Beau D'Orsay. Count D'Orsay (1801-52), 
called by Byron Jeune Citpidon. 

Beau Feilding. Robert Feilding (d. 1712), 
called "Handsome Feilding" by Charles IJ. 
He died in Scotland Yard, London, after 
having been convicted of bigamously marrying 
the Duchess of Cleveland, a former mistress 
of Charles II. He figures as Orlando in 
Steele's Taller (Nos. 50 and 51). 

Beau Hewitt. ' The model for "Sir Fopling 
Flutter," hero of Etheredge's Man of Mode. 

Beau Nash. Richard Nash (1674-1762). 
Son of a Welsh gentleman, a notorious diner- 
out. He undertook the management of the 
rooms at Bath, and conducted the public balls 
with a splendour and decorum never before 

Beau Didapper, in Fielding's Joseph 
Andrews, and Beau Tibbs, noted for his finery, 
vanity, and poverty in Goldsmith's Citizen of 
the World, may also be mentioned. 

In America the word beau is applied to a 
gul's favourite admirer, or lover. 

Beau ideal. Properly, the ideal Beautiful, 
the abstract idea of beauty, ideal, m the French, 
being the adjective, and beau, the substantive: 
but in English the parts played by the words 
are usually transposed, and thus have come to 
mean the ideal type or model of anything in its 
most consummate perfection. 

Beau monde. The fashionable world; people 
who make up the coterie of fashion. 

Beau trap. An old slang expression for a 
loose paving-stone under which water lodged, 
and which squirted up filth when trodden on, 
to the annoyance of the smartly dressed. 

Beauclerc (bo' klerk) (good scholar). Applied 
to Henry I (1068-1135), who had clerk-like 
accomplishments, very rare in the times in 
which he lived. 

Beaumontague or Beaumontagc. Material 
used for filling in accidental holes in wood- or 
metal-work, repairing cracks, disguising bad 
joinery, etc. Said to be so called from the 
celebrated French geologist, Elie de Beaumont 
(1798-1874), who also gave his name to 
beaumonlite, a silicate of copper. 

Beauseant (bo sa'on). The battle-cry of the 
Knights Templar. See TEMPLAR. 

Beautiful Parricide. Beatrice Cenci, daughter 
of Francesco Cenci, a dissipated and passion- 
ate Roman nobleman. With her brothers, she 
plotted the death of her father because of his 
unmitigated cruelty to his wife and children. 
She was executed in 1599, and at-the trial her 
counsel, with the view of still further gaining 
popular sympathy for his client, accused the 
father, probably without foundation, of having 
attempted to commit incest with her. Her 



Bedchamber Question 

story has been a favourite theme in poetry and 
art; Shelley's tragedy The Cenci is particularly 

Beauty. Beauty is but skin deep. 

O formose puer, mrnium ne crede colon. 

VIRGIL: Ecloques, ii. 

(O my pretty boy, trust not too much to your 
pretty looks.) 

Beauty and the Beast. The hero and 
heroine of the well-known fairy tale in which 
Beauty saved the life of her father by consent- 
ing to live with the Beast; and the Beast, being 
disenchanted by Beauty's love, became a 
handsome prince, and married her. 

The story is found in Straparola's Piacevoli 
Notti (1550), and it is from this collection that 
Mme le Prince de Beaumont probably ob- 
tained it when it became popular through her 
French version (1757). It is the basis of 
Gr6try's opera Zemire et Azor (1771). 

The story of a handsome and wealthy prince 
being compelled by enchantment to assume the 
appearance and character of a loathsome beast 
or formidable dragon until released by the pure 
love of one who does not suspect the disguise, 
is of great antiquity and takes various forms. 
Sometimes, as in the story of Lamia, and the 
old ballads Kempion and The Laidley Worm of 
Spindlestoneheugh, it is the woman the 
" Loathly Lady " of the romances who is 
enchanted into the form of a serpent and is 
only released by the kiss of a true knight. 

Beauty of Buttermere. Mary Robinson, 
married in 1802 to John Hatfield (c. 1758- 
1802), a heartless impostor, and already a 
bigamist, who was executed for forgery at 
Carlisle in 1 803. She was the subject of many 
dramas and stories. 

... a story drawn 

From our own ground, The Maid of Buttermere, 
And how, 'Unfaithful to a virtuous wife 
Deserted and deceived, the Spoiler came 
And wooed the artless daughter of the hills, 
And wedded her, in cruel mockery 
Of love and marriage bonds. 

WORDSWORTH: Prelude, vii, 288. 

Beauty sleep. Sleep taken before midnight. 
Those who habitually go to bed, especially 
during youth, after midnight, are supposed to 
become pale and more or less haggard. 

Beaux Esprits (bo za spre) (Fr.). Men of wit 
or genius (singular, Un bel esprit, a wit, a 

Beaux yeux (bo zyer') (Fr.). Beautiful eyes 
or attractive looks. "I will do it for your 
beaux yenx" (because you are so pretty, or 
because your eyes are so attractive). 

Beaver. The lower and movable part of a 
helmet; so called from Fr. bayiere, which meant 
a child's bib, to which this part had some 
resemblance. It is not connected with bever 
0?.v.), the afternoon draught in the harvest- 

Hamlet: Then you saw not his face'' 
Horatio: O yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up. 
SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, i, 2. 

Beaver is also an old name for a man's hat; 
because they used to be made of beaver fur. 
For some years in the 1920s the word was 
applied to anyone wearing a beard. 

Becasse (ba kas). French for a woodcock and 
also for a booby or "softy." The word is 
sometimes used in the latter sense in English. 

Bed. The great bed of Ware. A bed eleven 
feet square, and capable of holding twelve 
persons. It dates from the last quarter of the 
16th century. In 1931 it came into the 
possession of the Victoria and Albert Museum. 
Although the sheet were big enough for the bed of 
Ware m England. SHAKESPEARE: Twelfth Night, iii, 2. 

As you make your bed you must lie on it. 

Everyone must bear the consequences of his 
own acts. "As you sow, so must you reap." 
"As you brew, so must you bake." 

To bed out. To plant what are called 
"bedding-out plants" in a flower-bed. Bed- 
ding-out plants are reared in pots, generally m 
a hothouse, and are transferred into garden- 
beds early in the summer. Such plants as 
geraniums, marguerites, fuchsias, pentstemons, 
petunias, verbenas, lobelias, calceolarias, etc., 
are meant. 

To make the bed. To arrange it and make it 
fit for use. In America this sense of "make" 
is more common than it is with us. "Your 
room is made," arranged in due order. 

You got out of bed the wrong way, or with the 
left leg foremost. Said of a person who is 
patchy and ill-tempered. It was an ancient 
superstition that it was unlucky to set the left 
foot on the ground first on getting out of bed. 
The same superstition applies to putting on 
the left shoe first, a "fancy" not yet wholly 
exploded. Augustus Caesar was very super- 
stitious in this respect. 

Bed of justice. See LIT. 

A bed of roses. A situation of ease and 

A bed of thorns. A situation of great anxiety 
and apprehension. 

In the twinkling of a bed-post or bed-staff. 

As quickly as possible. In old bed-frames it is 
said that posts were placed in brackets at the 
two sides of the bedstead for keeping the bed- 
clothes from rolling off; there was also in 
some cases a staff used to beat the bed 
and clean it. In the reign of Edward I, Sir 
John Chichester had a mock skirmish with his 
servant (Sir John with his rapier and the 
servant with the bed-staff), in which the servant 
was accidentally killed. Wright, in his 
Domestic Manners, shows us a chambermaid 
of the 17th century using a bed-staff to beat up 
the bedding. ^'Twinkling" is from A.S. 
twinclian, a frequentative verb connected with 
twiccan, to twitch, and connotes rapid or 
tremulous movement. 

I'll do it instantly, in the twinkling of a bed-staff, 
SHADWELL: Virtuoso, i, 1 (1676). 

The phrase is probably due to the older and 
more readily understandable one, in the 
twinkling of an eye, m the smallest thinkable 
fraction of time : 

We shall all be changed in a moment, in the 
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. 1 Cor. 
xv, 51, 52. 

Bedchamber Question. In May, 1839, Lord 
Melbourne's Whig ministry resigned, and when 
Sir Robert Peel formed a government he 




intimated to Queen Victoria that he would 
expect the Whig ladies of the bedchamber to be 
replaced by Tories. The Queen refused to 
accede to this request, and persisting in her 
refusal, called Lord Melbourne to her aid. A 
new Whig ministry was formed, which lasted 
until 1841, by which time the Prince Consort 
was able to smooth over the difficulty when a 
Tory government was formed. 
Bedel, or Bedell (be' del). Old forms of the 
word beadle (g.v,\ still used at Oxford and 
Cambridge in place of the modern spelling for 
the officer who carries the mace before the Vice- 
Chancellor and performs a few other duties. 
At Oxford there are four, called bedels; at 
Cambridge there are two, called bedells, or 

Beder (be'der). A village between Medina 
and Mecca famous for the first victory gained 
by Mohammed over the Koreshites (624 A.D.). 
In the battle he is said to have been assisted by 
3,000 angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his 
horse Haizum. 
Bedesman. See BEADSMAN. 
Bedford Level. The large tract of marshy 
land about 60 miles in breadth and 40 in 
length which lies in the counties of Norfolk, 
Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntingdonshire, North- 
amptonshire, and Lincolnshire, and includes 
the Isle of Ely and the whole of the Fen district. 
So called from Francis, fourth Earl of Bedford, 
who undertook the draining of the Fens in 

Bedford Book of Hours. An illuminated 
manuscript of extraordinary beauty made for 
John, Duke of Bedford, second son of King 
Henry IV, whose wife presented it to King 
Henry VI at Christmas, 1430. It is now in the 
British Museum. 

Bedivere, or Bedver. In the Arthurian ro- 
mances, 4 ^ knight of the Round Table, butler 
and staunch adherent of King Arthur. It was 
he who, at the request of the dying king, threw 
Excalibur into the Lake, and afterwards bore 
his body to the ladies in the barge which was 
to take him to Avalon. 

Bedlam. A lunatic asylum or madhouse; a 
contraction for Bethlehem, the name of a 
religious house in London, converted into a 
hospital for lunatics. St. Mary of Bethlehem 
was the first English and the second European 
lunatic asylum. Founded in Bishopsgate, 
London, in 1247, it became a madhouse in 
1403. In 1676 it was transferred to Moor- 
fields, near where Liverpool-St. Station now 
stands, and was one of the sights of London, 
where, for twopence, anyone might wander 
in and gaze at the poor distracted wretches 
behind their bars and bait them with foolish 
and cruel questions. It was a holiday resort 
and place for assignations, one of the dis- 
graces of 17th-century London. 

All that I can say of Bedlam is this; 'tis an alms- 
house for madmen, a showing room for harlots, a 
sure market for lechers, *a dry walk for loiterers. 

WARD'S London Spy (1698). 
In 1815 Bedlam was moved to St. George's 
Fields, Lambeth, and in 1926 to the country, 
near Beekenham, Kent. 

Bedlamite. A madman, a fool, an inhabi- 
tant of Bedlam. See ABRAM-MAN. 

Bedlam, Tom o'. See TOM. 
Bednall Green. See BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER. 

Bedouins (bed' ou inz). French (and thence 
English) form of an Arabic word meaning "a 
dweller in the desert," given indiscriminately 
by Europeans to the nomadic tribes of Arabia 
and Syria, and applied in journalistic jargon to 
gipsies, or the homeless poor of the streets. 
In this use it is merely a further extension of 
the term "street Arab,'* which means the same 

Bed-rock. American slang for one's last 
shilling. A miner's term for the hard basis 
rock which is reached when the mine is 
exhausted. "I'm come down to the bed- 
rock," i.e. my last dollar. 
Bedver. See BEDIVERE. 
Bee. Legend has it that Jupiter was nourished 
by bees in infancy, and Pindar is said to have 
been nourished by bees with honey instead of 

The Greeks consecrated bees to the moon. 
With the Romans a flight of bees was con- 
sidered a bad omen. Appian (Civil War, Bk. 
11) says a swarm of bees lighted on the altar and 
prognosticated the fatal issue of the battle of 

The coins of Ephesus had a bee on the 

When Plato was an infant, bees settled on 
his lips when he was asleep, indicating that he 
would become famous for his honeyed words. 
And as when Plato did i' the cradle thrive, 
Bees to his lips brought honey from their hive. 
W. BROWNE: Britannia's Pastorals, ii. 
The same story is told of Sophocles, Pindar, 
St. Chrysostom, and others, including St. 
Ambrose, who is represented with a' beehive. 
The Bee was the emblem of Napoleon I. 
The name bee is given, particularly in 
America, to a social gathering for some useful 
work, the allusion being to the social and 
industrious character of bees. The name of 
the object of the gathering generally precedes 
the word, as a spelling-bee (for a competition 
in spelling), apple-bees, husking-bees, etc. It 
is an old Devonshire custom, carried across the 
Atlantic in Stuart times, but the name appears 
to have originated in America. 
The Athenian Bee. See ATHENIAN. 
The Bee of Athens. See ATHENIAN and 

Bee-line. The shortest distance between two 
given points; such as a bee is supposed to take 
in making for its hive. Air-line is another 
term for the same thing. 

To have your head full of bees, or to have a 
bee in your bonnet. To be cranky; to have an 
idiosyncrasy; to be full of devices, crotchets, 
fancies, inventions, and dreamy theories. The 
connexion between bees and the soul was once 
generally maintained: hence Mohammed 
admits bees to Paradise. Porphyry says of 
fountains, "they are adapted to the numphs, or 
those souls which the ancient called bees.** Cp. 



Beef. This word, from the O.Fr. boef (mod. 
Fr. bauf)> an ox, is, like mutton (Fr. mouton}, 
a reminder of the time when, in the years 
following the Norman Conquest, the Saxon 
was the down-trodden servant of the con- 
querors: the Normans had the cooked meat, 
and when set before them used the word they 
were accustomed to ; the Saxon was the herds- 
man, and while the beast was under his charge 
called it by its Saxon name, 

Beefeaters. The popular name of the Yeo- 
men of the Guard in the royal household, 
appointed, in 1485, by Henry VII, to form part 
of the royal tram at banquets and on other 
grand occasions; also of the Yeomen Extra- 
ordinary of the Guard, who were appointed as 
Warders of the Tower of London by Edward 
VI, and wear the same Tudor-period costume 
as the Yeomen of the Guard themselves. 

There is no evidence whatever for the old 
guess that the word is connected with the 
French buffet, and signifies "an attendant at 
the royal buffet, or sideboard"; on the con- 
trary, every indication goes to show that it 
means exactly what it says, viz. "eaters of 
beef." That "eater" was formerly used as a 
synonym for "servant" is clear, not only from 
the fact that the O.E. hlaf-$ta (literally, "loaf- 
eater") meant "a menial servant,'* but also 
from the passage in Ben Jonson's Silent 
Woman iii, 2, (1609) where Morose, calling for 
his servants, snouts, 

Bar my doors! bar my doors I Where are all my 
eaters? My mouths, now? Bar up my doors, you 

Sir. S. D. Scott, in his The British Army 
(i, 513), quotes an early use of the word from 
a letter of Prince Rupert's dated 1645, and 
shows (p. 517) that the large daily allowance of 
beef provided for their table makes the words 
in their literal meaning quite appropriate. 

There is plenty of evidence to show that in 
the 17th century there was little doubt of the 
meaning of the word: e.g. Cartwright's The 
Ordinary, li, 1 (1651): 

These goodly Juments of the guard would fight 

(As they eat beef) after six stone a day. 

Beef-steak Club. The present Beef-steak Club 
dates from 1876, but the original club of this 
name was founded about 1707. Its badge was 
a gridiron, and it was said to comprise "the 
chief wits and great men of the nation." In 
1735 the "Sublime Society of the Steaks," 
which has sometimes been confused with this, 
but which scorned to be called a club, was 
inaugurated through a chance dinner taken by 
Lord Peterborough in the scene-room of Rich, 
over Covent Garden Theatre. His lordship 
was so delighted with the steak provided and 
cooked by the actor that he proposed to 
repeat the entertainment every Saturday. The 
"Sublime Society," which was then founded, 
continued to meet at Covent Garden till the 
fire of 1808, and, after various vicissitudes, 
was finally dissolved in 1867. The original 
gridiron on which Rich broiled the peer's 
steak is still in existence. 
Beelzebub. The name should be spelt 
Beelzebul (or, rather, Baalzebul, see BAAL), and 
means "lord of the high house"; but, as this 
title was ambiguous and might have been 
B.D. 4 

taken as referring to Solomon's Temple, the 
late Jews changed it to Beelzebub, which has 
the meaning "lord of flies." Beelzebub was 
the particular Baal worshipped originally in 
Ekron and afterwards far and wide in Palestine 
and the adjacent countries. To the Jews he 
came to be the chief representative of the false 
g9ds, and he took an important place in their 
hierarchy of demons. He is referred to in 
Matt, xu, 24, as "the prince of the devils," 
and hence Milton places him next in rank to 

One next himself in power, and next in crime, 
Long after known in Palestine, and named 

Beelzebub. Paradise Lost, i, 79. 

Beer. See ALE. 

He does not think small beer of himself. See- 

Life is not all beer and skittles, i.e. not all 

eating, drinking, and play; not all pleasure; 
not all harmony and love. 

Sport like life, and life like sport, 
Isn't all skittles and beer. 

Beeswing. The second crust, or film, com- 
posed of shining scales of mucilage, which 
forms in good port and some other wines after 
long keeping, and which bears some resem- 
blance to the wings of bees. Unlike the 
"crust" which forms on the bottle, it is not 
detrimental if it passes into the decanter at 

Beetle, To. To overhang, to threaten, to jut 
over. The word seems to have been first used 
by Shakespeare: 

Or to the dreadful summit of the din, 
That beetles o'er his base into the sea. 

Hamlet, i, 4. 

It is formed from the adjective, beetle* 
browed, having prominent or shaggy eyebrows; 
and it is not the case, as has sometimes been 
stated, that the adjective was formed from the 
verb. The derivation of beetle in this use is 
not quite certain, but it probably refers to the 
tufted antennae which, in some beetles, stand 
straight out from the head. 
Befana (be fa' na). The good fairy of Italian 
children, who is supposed to fill their stockings 
with toys when they go to bed on Twelfth 
Night. Someone enters the children's bed- 
room for the purpose, and the wakeful 
youngsters cry out, "Ecco la Befana" 
According to legend, Befana was too busy 
with house affairs to look after the Magi when 
they went to offer their gifts, and said she 
would wait to see them on their return; but 
they went another way, and Befana, every 
Twelfth Night, watches to see them. The- 
name is a corruption of Eplphania. 
Before the Lights. See LIGHTS. 
Before the Mast. See MAST. 
Beg. A Turkish chief or governor. See BEY.. 
Beg the Question, To. To assume a proposi- 
tion which, in reality, involves the conclusion. 
Thus, to say that parallel lines will never meet 
because they are parallel, is simply to assume 
as a fact the very thing you profess to prove. 
The phrase is the common English equivalent 
of the Latin term, petitio principii. 
Beggar. A beggar may sing before a pick- 
pocket. Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator 


(Juvenal, x, 22). A beggar may sing in the 
presence of thieves because he has nothing m 
his pocket to lose. 

Beggar of Bednall Green. See BESSEE, THE 

Beggars cannot be choosers. Beggars must 
take what is given them, and not dictate to the 
giver what they like best. They must accept 
and be thankful. 

Beggars* barm. The thick foam which 
collects on the surface of ponds, brooks, and 
other pieces of water where the current meets 
stoppage. It looks like barm or yeast, but, 
being unfit for use, is only beggarly barm at 

Beggars' bullets. Stones. 

To go by beggar's bush, or Go home by 
Sfoeggar's bush i.e to go to ruin. Beggar's 
bush is the name of a tree which once stood on 
the left hand of the London road from 
Huntingdon to Caxton; so called because it 
-was a noted rendezvous for beggars. These 
punning phrases and proverbs are very 

Bessee, the beggar's daughter of Bednall 
Green, the heroine of an old ballad given in 
Percy's Reliques, and introduced by Chettle 
.and Day into their play The Blind Beggar of 
Bednal Green (1600). Sheridan Knowlcs also 
&as a play on the story (1834). Bessee was 
very beautiful, and was courted by four 
suitors at once a knight, a gentleman of 
fortune, a London merchant, and the son of 
the innkeeper at Romford. She told them 
that they must obtain the consent of her father, 
the poor blind beggar of Bethnal Green. 
When they heard that, they all slunk off except 
,the knight, who went to ask the beggar's leave 
to wed the "pretty Bessee.'* The beggar gave 
her 3,000 for her dower, and 100 to buy her 
wedding gown. At the wedding feast he 
explained to the guests that he was Henry, son 
and heir of Sir Simon de Montfort. 

Beggar's Opera. Opera produced in Lon- 
don in 1727 with enormous success. The 
words are by Gay and the music, partly 
traditional ballads and partly contemporary 
*'hits," was arranged by Pepusch. The 
"hero" is a highwayman, MacHeath, and the 
-originality lay in composing an opera round 
.-criminals and Newgate Prison. 

King of the beggars. Bampfylde Moore 
Carew (1693-1770), a famous English vaga- 
bond who was elected King of the Gipsies. 
He fell into the hands of the Law, was trans- 
ported to Maryland but escaped and got back 
to England. He was one of the Young 
Pretender's troopers in the '45 and followed 
him to Derby. 

Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to 
the de'il. There is no one so proud and 
arrogant as a beggar who has suddenly grown 

Such is the sad effect of wealth rank pride 
Mount but a beggar, how the rogue will ride! 

PETER PINDAR- Epistle to Lord Lonsdale. 
The proverb is common to many languages. 

Begging Friars. See MENDICANT ORDERS. 

92 Bel 

Beghards (be gardz). A monastic fraternity 
which rose in the Low Countries in the 12th 
century, so called from Lambert le Begue, a 
priest of Liege, who also founded a sisterhood. 
They took no vows, and were free to leave the 
society when they liked. In the 17th century, 
those who survived the persecutions of the 
Popes and Inquisition joined the Tertiarii of the 
Franciscans. See BEGUINES. 
Beglerbed. See BASHAW. 
Begorra. An Irish form of the English 
minced oath "begad," for "By God." 

Beguine (be gen'). A popular Martinique 
and South American dance, or music for this 
dance, m bolero rhythm. This rhythm in- 
spired Cole Porter's success of the- 1930s, 
"Begin the Beguine." 

Beguines (ba gen). A sisterhood founded in 
the 12th century by Lambert le Begue (see 
BEGHARDS). The Beguines were at liberty to 
quit the cloister and to marry; they formerly 
nourished in the Low Countries, Germany, 
France, and Italy; and there are still com- 
munities with this name in Belgium. The cap 
called a beguin was named from this sisterhood. 

Begum. A lady, princess, or woman of high 
rank in India; the wife of a ruler (fem. of Beg, 
see BEY). 

Behemoth (be he' moth). The animal de- 
scribed under this name in Job xl, 15 et seq , 
is, if an actual animal were intended, almost 
certainly the hippopotamus; but modern 
scholarship rather tends to the opinion that the 
reference is purely mythological. The English 
poet Thomson, apparently took it to be the 

Behold! in plaited mail, 
Behemoth rears his head. 

The Seasons: Summer, 709. 

The word is sometimes pronounced 
Be' hemoth; but Milton, like Thomson, places 
the accent on the second syllable. 

Scarce from his mold 

Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved 
His vastness. 

Paradise Lost, vii, 471. 

Behmenists (ba'men ists). A sect of theoso- 
phical mystics, so called from Jacob Behmen, 
or Bohme (1575-1624), their founder. The 
first Behmenist sect in England was founded 
under the name of Philadelphists by a certain 
Jane Leade, in 1697. 

Bahrain (ba' ram). The most holy kind of fire, 
according to Parseeism Gy.v.). See aho 

Bejan (be'jan). A freshman or greenhorn. 
This term was introduced into some of the 
Scottish Universities from the University of 
Paris, and is a corruption of Fr. bee jaune, 
yellow beak, with allusion to a nestling or un- 
fledged bird. At Aberdeen a woman student 
is called a banjanella or bejanella. 

In France bejaune is still the name for the 
repast that the freshman is supposed to provide 
for his new companions. 
Bel. The name of two Assyrio-Babylonian 
gods; it is the same word as Baal (q.v.). The 
story of Bel and the Dragon, in which we are 
told how Daniel convinced the king that Bel 

Bel Esprit 



was not an actual living deity but only an 
image, was formerly part of the Book of 
DanieL but is now relegated to the Apocrypha. 

Bel Esprit (belespre) (Fr.). Literally, fine 
mind, means, in English, a vivacious wit; one 
of quick and lively parts, ready at repartee (pi. 
beaux esprit a). 

Belch, Sir Toby. A reckless, roistering, jolly 
fellow: from the knight of that name in 
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. 

Belcher. A pocket-handkerchief properly, 
one with white spots on a blue ground; so 
called from Jim Belcher (1781-1811), the 
pugilist, who adopted it. The Belcher ring 
was a massive gold affair, sometimes set with 
a precious stone. 

Beldam. An old woman. This is not from 
the French belle dame, but from English dam, 
a mother, and bel-, a prefix expressing 
relationship as does grand- in grandmother^ 
etc. Belfather is an old term for grangfathei . 
Old men and beldames in the streets 
Do prophesy upon it dangerously. 

SHAKESPEARE: King John, iv, 2. 

Belfast Regiment, The. See REGIMENTAL 


Bel-fires. See BELTANE. 

Belfry. A military tower, pushed by besiegers 
against the wall of a besieged city, that missiles 
may be thrown more easily against the de- 
fenders. (From O.Fr. berjrei, berjroi, Mid. 
High Ger. bercjrit here, shelter,/nWe, peace 
a protecting tower.) A church steeple is 
called a belfry from its resemblance to these 
towers, and not because bells are hung in it. 

Belial (be' Hal) (Heb.). The worthless or 
lawless one, i.e. the devil. 

What concord hath Christ with Belial? 

2 Cor. vi, 15. 

Milton, in his pandemonium, makes him 
a very high and distinguished prince of dark- 

Belial came last than whom a spirit more lewd 
Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love 
Vice for itself. 

Paradise Lost, bk. i, 490. 

Sons of Belial. Lawless, worthless, rebel- 
lious people. 

Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial. 

1 Sam. il, 12. 

Belisarius (beli sar' i us). Belisarius begging 
for an obolus. Belisarius (d. 565), the greatest 
of Justinian's generals, being accused of con- 
spiring against the life of the emperor, was 
deprived of all his property. The tale is that 
his eyes were put out, and'that when living as a 
beggar in Constantinople he fastened a bag 
to his roadside hut, with the inscription, 
"Give an obolus to poor old Belisarius.*' 
This tradition is of no historic value. 
Belit. See ASSHUR. 

Bell, Acton, Currer, and Ellis. These were the 
names under which Anne, Charlotte, and 
Emily Bronte wrote their novels. 

Bell. As the bell clinks, so the fool thinks, 
or, As the fool thinks, so the bell clinks. The 

tale says when Whittington ran away from his 
master, and had got as far as Highgate Hill, 

he was hungry, tired, and wished to return. 
Bow Bells began to ring, and Whittington 
fancied they said, "Turn again, Whittington, 
Lord Mayor of London." The bells clinked 
in response to the boy's thoughts. 

At three bells, at five bells, etc. A term on 
board ship with much the same meaning as our 
expression o'clock. Five out of the seven 
watches last four hours, and each half-hour is 
marked by a bell, which gives a number of 
strokes corresponding to the number of half- 
hours passed. Thus, "three bells" denotes 
the third half-hour of the watch, "five bells" 
the fifth half-hour of the watch, and so on. 
The two short watches, which last only two 
hours each, are from four to six and six to 
eight in the afternoon. "Eight bells" is rung 
at noon, four, and eight o'clock, and is the 
signal for the beginning of a new watch. See 

Bell, book, and candle. In the greater 
excommunication, introduced into the Catholic 
Church in the" 8th century, after reading the 
sentence a bell is rung, a book closed, and a 
candle extinguished. From that moment the 
excommunicated person is excluded from the 
sacraments and even from divine worship. 
The form of excommunication closed with the 
words "Close the book, quench the candle, 
ring the bell!" 

Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back. 
SHAKESPEARE: King John, iii, 3. 

Hence, in spite of bell, book, and candle, 
signifies in spite of all the opposition which 
even the Christian hierarchy can offer. 

Give her the bells and let her fly. Don't 

throw good money after bad; make the best of 
the matter, but do not attempt to bolster it up. 
The metaphor is from falconry; when a hawk 
was worthless the bird was suffered to escape, 
even at the expense of the bells attached to her. 

I'll not hang all my bells on one horse. I'll 
not leave all my property to one son. The 
allusion is manifest. 

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and 
harsh (Hamlet, iii, 1). A metaphor for a 
deranged mind, such as that of Ophelia, or of 
Don Quixote. 

Passing bell. The hallowed bell which used 
to be rung when persons were in extremis, to 
scare away evil spirits which were supposed to 
lurk about the dying ready to pounce on the 
soul while passing from the body. It is a very 
ancient custom, and the Athenians used to 
beat on brazen kettles at the moment of a 
decease to scare away the Furies. A secon- 
dary object was to announce to the neigh- 
bourhood the fact that all good Christians 
might offer up a prayer for the safe passage of 
the soul into Paradise. The bell rung at a 
funeral is sometimes improperly called the 
"passing bell." 

The Koran says that bells hang on the trees 
of Paradise, and are set in motion by wind 
from the throne of God, as often as the 
blessed wish for music. 

Bells as musical 

As those that, on the golden-shafted trees 
Of Eden, shook by the eternal breeze. 

T. MOORE: Lalla Rookh, pt. i. 




Ringing the hallowed bell. Consecrated 
bells were believed to be able to disperse 
storms and pestilence, drive away devils (see 
PASSING BELL, above}, and extinguish fire. In 
France in quite recent times it was by no 
means unusual to ring church bells to ward off 
the effects of lightning, and as lately as 1852 it 
is said that the Bishop of Malta ordered the 
church bells to be rung for an hour to "lay 
a gale of wind," 

Funera plango, fulgura frango, sabbata pango, 

Excito lentos, dissipo ventos, paco cruentos. 

A Helpe to Discourse (1668) 
(Death's tale I tell, the winds dispel, ill-feeling quell, 

The slothful shake, the storm-clouds break > the 
Sabbath wake.) 

The legend on the Munster bell, cast at 
Basle in 1486, known as Schiller's bell because 
it furnished him with the idea for his Lied von 
der Glocke, reads: 
Vivos Voco Mortuos Plango Fulguia Frango 

Ringing the bells backwards, is ringing a 
muffled peal. Backwards is often used to 
denote "in a reverse manner,'* as, "I hear you 
are grown rich " "Yes, backwards," mean- 
ing "quite the reverse.'* A muffled peal is a 
peal of sorrow, not of joy, and was formerly 
sometimes employed as a tocsin, or notice of 

Sound as a bell, 
bell is useless. 

Quite sound. A cracked 

Blinde Fortune did so happily contrive, 
That we as sound as bells did safe arive 
At Dover. 

Taylor's Workes, ii, 22 (1630). 

Tolling the bell for church. The " church- 
going bell," as Cowper called it (Alexander 
Selkirk} was in pre-Reformation days rung, 
not as an invitation to church, but as an Ave 
Bell, to invite worshippers to a preparatory 
prayer to the Virgin. 

To bear or carry away the bell. To be first 
fiddle; to carry off the palm; to be the best. 
The leader of the flock, the "bellwether," bore 
the bell; hence the phrase; but it has been 
confused with an old custom of presenting to 
winners of horse-races, etc., a little gold or 
silver bell as a prize. 

Jockey and his horse were by their masters sent 

To put in for the bell. . . . 

They are to run and cannot miss the bell. 

NORTH: Forest of Varieties. 

Warwick shakes his bells. Beware of 
danger, for Warwick is in the field. Trojans 
beware, Achilles has donned his armour. A 
metaphor from falconry, the bells being those 
of a hawk. 

Neither the king, nor he that loves him best, 
Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shakes the bells. 
SHAKESPEARE: 3 Henry P7, i, 1. 

Who is to bell the cat? Who will risk his 
own life to save his neighbour's ? Anyone who 
encounters great personal hazard for the sake 
of others undertakes to "bell the cat." 

Bell-the-Cat Archibald Douglas, fifth Earl 
of Angus (d. 1514), was so called. James III 
made favourites of architects and masons. 
One mason, named Cochrane, he created Earl 
of Mar. The Scottish nobles held a council in 
the church of Lauder for the purpose of putting 
down these upstarts, when Lord Gray asked, 

"Who will bell the cat?" "That will I," 
said Douglas, and he fearlessly put to death, in 
the king's presence, the obnoxious minions. 
The allusion is to the fable of the cunning old 
mouse (given in Pieis Plowman and elsewhere), 
who suggested that they should hang a bell on 
the cat's neck to give notice to all mice of her 
approach. "Excellent," said a wise young 
mouse, "but who is to undertake the job ?" 

Bellman. A town-crier. Before the present 
police force was established, watchmen or 
bellmen used to parade the streets at night, and 
at Easter a copy of verses was left at the chief 
houses in the hope of obtaining an offering. 
These verses were the relics of the old in- 
cantations sung or said by the bellman to keep 
off elves and hobgoblins. 

Bell-rope. A humorous name for a curl 
worn by a man a "rope" for the "belles" 
to play with. Cp. BOW-CATCHER. 

Bell Savage. See LA BELLE SAUVAGE. 

Bell-wavering. Vacillating, swaying from 
side to side like a bell. A man whose mind 
jangles out of tune from delirium, drunkenness, 
or temporary insanity, is said to have his wits 
gone bell-wavering. 

Bellwether of the flock. A jocose and rather 
deprecatory term applied to the leader of a 
party. The allusion is to the wether or sheep 
which leads the flock with a bell fastened to 
its neck. 

Belladonna (bel a don' a). The Deadly Night- 
shade. The name is Italian, and means 
"beautiful lady"; it is not certainly known 
why it should have been given to the plant. 
One account says that it ,is from a practice 
once cpmmon among ladies of touching their 
eyes with it to make the pupils large and lus- 
trous; but another has it that it is from its 
having been used by an Italian poisoner, 
named Leucota, to poison beautiful women. 
It is used today by ophthalmic surgeons in order 
to enlarge the pupil so that they may more 
easily examine the inside of the eye. 

Bellarmine (bel'armin). A large Flemish 
gotch, or ^ stone beer-jug, originally made in 
Flanders in ridicule of Cardinal Bellarmine 
(1542-1621), the great persecutor of the 
Protestants there. It carried a rude likeness 
of the cardinal. Cp. GREYBEARD. 

Belle (bel) (Fr.). A beauty. The Belle of the 

hall. The most beautiful woman in the room. 

La belle France. A common French phrase 
applied to France, as "Merrie England" is to 
our own country. 

Belles lettres (bel letr). Polite literature; 
poetry, and standard literary works which are 
not scientific or technical: the study or pursuit 
of such literature. The term which is French 
has given birth to the very ugly words 
bellettrist and bellettristic. 

Bellerophon (be ler' o fon). The Joseph of 
Greek mythology; Antasa, the wife of Proetus, 
being the "Potiphar's wife" who tempted 
him, and afterwards falsely accused him. Her 
husband, Proetus, sent Bellerophon with a 
letter to lobates, the King of Lycia, his wife's 




father, recounting the charge, and praying 
that the bearer might be put to death, lobates, 
unwilling to slay him himself, gave him many 
hazardous tasks (including the killing of the 
Chimaera, #.v.), but as he was successful in all 
of them lobates made him his heir. Later 
Bellerophon is fabled to have attempted to fly 
to heaven on the winged horse Pegasus, but 
Zeus sent a gadfly to sting the horse, and the 
rider was thrown. 

Bellerophon has frequently been used for the 
name of a ship in the British Navy. The most 
famous took part in the Battle of the Nile, 
Trafalgar, etc., and was the vessel in which 
Napoleon surrendered himself to the British 
and which brought him to England. It was 
corrupted by sailors, etc., to "Billy Ruffian," 
"Bully-runran," "Belly-rufTron," etc. 

Why, she and the Belly-ruffron seem to have 
pretty well shared and shared alike. Captain 
MARRYAT: Poor Jack, ch. xiu. 

Bellerus (be le' rus). The name of a giant in- 
vented by Milton by way of accounting for 
"Bellerium," the old Roman name for the 
Land's End district of Cornwall: 

Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old. 

MILTON: Lycidas, 160. 

Milton had originally written "Corineus" 
(tf.v.), a name already well known in British 

Bellona. In Roman mythology, the goddess 
of war and wife (or sometimes sister) of Mars. 
She was probably in origin a Sabine deity. 

Belly. The belly and its members. The fable 
of Menenius Agrippa to the Roman people 
when they seceded to the Sacred Mount: 
"Once on a time the members refused to work 
for the lazy belly; but, as the supply of food 
was thus stopped, they found there was a 
necessary and mutual dependence between 
them." The fable is given by JEsop and by 
Plutarch, whence Shakespeare introduces it in 
his Coriolanus, i, 1. 

The belly has no ears. A hungry man will 
not listen to advice or arguments. The 
Romans had the same proverb, Venter non 
habet aures; and in French, Venire affame rfa 
point d'oreilles. 

Belly-timber. Food. The term is quite an 
old one, and was not originally slang. It is 
used seriously by Massinger and other 
Elizabethan dramatists, and is given by Cot- 
grave (1611) as a translation of the French 
Carrelure de ventre (literally, a resoling, or re- 
furnishing, of the stomach.) 

. . . through deserts vast 
And regions desolate they pass'd 
Where belly-timber above ground 
Or under, was not to be found, 

BUTLER, Hudibras* 

Belomancy (bel' o man si) (Gr.). Divination 
by arrows. Labels being attached to a given 
number of arrows, the archers let them fly, and 
the advice on the label of the arrow which flies 
farthest is accepted and acted on. Sir Thomas 
Browne describes a method of belomancy in 
Pseudodoxia Epidemica, v, 23, and says that 
hath been in request with Scythians, Alanes, Ger- 
mans, with the Africans and Turks of Algier. 

Beloved Disciple. St. John. (John xiii, 23, etc.) 
Beloved Physician. St. Luke. (Col. iv, 14.) 

Belphegor (bel' fe gor). The Assyrian form of 
' w Baal-Peor " (see BAAL),, the Moabitish god 
to whom the Israelites became attached in 
Shittim (Numb, xxv, 3). 

The name was given in a mediaeval Latin 
legend to a demon who was sent into the world 
from the infernal regions by his fellows to 
test the truth of certain rumours that had 
reached them concerning the happiness and 
otherwise of married life on earth. After a 
thorough trial, the details of which are told 
with great intimacy, he fled in horror and 
dismay to the hapjpy regions where female 
society and companionship was non-existent. 
Hence, the term is applied both to a misan- 
thrope and to a nasty, licentious, obscene 

The story is found in Machiavelli's works, 
and became very popular. Its first appearance 
in English is in Barnabe Rich's Farewell to the 
Military Profession (1581); and it either forms 
the main source of, or furnishes incidents to, 
many plays including Grim, the Collier of 
Croydon (1600), Jonson's The Devil is an Ass 
(1616), and John Wilson's Belphegor, or the 
Marriage of the Devil (1691). 

Belphoebe (belfe'bi). The huntress-goddess 
in Spenser's Faerie Queene, daughter of 
Chrysogone and sister of Ainoret, typifies 
Queen Elizabeth as a model of chastity. She 
was of the Diana and Minerva type; cold as an 
icicle, passionless, immovable, and, like a 
moonbeam, light without warmth. 

Belt. To hit below the belt. To strike un- 
fairly. It is prohibited in the Queensberry 
rules of prize-fighting to hit below the waist- 

To hold the belt. To be the champion. In 
pugilism, a belt usually forms part of the prize 
in big events, and is typical of the champion- 

Belted earl, knight. This refers to the belt 
and spurs with which knights, etc., were in- 
vested when raised to the dignity. 

Belted Will. Lord William Howard (1563- 
1640), a Border chief, son of the fourth Duke 
of Norfolk, and warden of the western 
marches. He was so called by Scott. To his 
contemporaries he was known as "Bould 
Wullie." His wife was called "Bessie with 
the braid apron." 

Beltane (bel' tan). In Scotland, old May- 
day, the beginning of summer; also the festival 
that was held on that day, a survival of the 
ancient heathen festival inaugurating the 
summer, at which the Druids lit two "bel-fires" 
between which the cattle were driven, either 
preparatory to sacrifice or to protect them 
against disease. The word is Gaelic, and 
means literally "the blaze-kindling." 

Belvedere (bel' ve der). A sort of pleasure- 
house built on an eminence in a garden, from 
which one can survey the surrounding pros- 
pect, or a look-out on the top of a house. 
The word is Italian, and means a fine sight. 


Benares (ben ar' ez). The holy city of the 
Hindus, being to them what Mecca is to the 
Moslems. It was founded about 1200 B.C. 
and was for many years a Buddhist centre, 
being conquered by the Mohammedans in 
1193. It is celebrated for its temples and 
shrines to which pilgrims go from all India. 
Benbow. A name almost typical of a brave 
sailor, from John Benbow (1653-1702), a 
noted English Admiral. It is told of him that 
in an engagement with the French near St. 
Martha, on the Spanish coast, in 1701, his legs 
and thighs were shivered into splinters by a 
chain-shot, but, supported in a wooden frame, 
he remained on the quarter deck till morning, 
when Du Casse bore away. Almeyda, the 
Portuguese governor of India, in his engage- 
ment with the united fleet of Cambaya and 
Egypt, had his legs and thighs shattered in a 
similar manner; but, instead of retreating, had 
himself bound to the ship's mast, where he 
"waved his sword to cheer on the combatants," 
till he died from loss of blood. 
Whirled by the cannon's rage, in shivers torn, 
His thighs far shattered o'er the waves are borne; 
Bound to the mast the god-like hero stands, 
Waves his proud sword and cheers his woeful bands; 
Though winds and seas their wonted aid deny, 
To yield he knows not but he knows t die 

CAMONS: Lusiad, Bk. \. 

Somewhat similar stones are told of 
Cynaegiros and Jaafer (qq.v). 
Bench. Originally the same word as BANK, 
it means, properly, a long wooden seat, hence 
the official seat of judges in Court, bishops in 
the House of Lords, aldermen in the council 
chamber, etc.; hence, by extension judges, 
bishops, etc., collectively, the court or place 
where they administer justice or sit officially, 
the dignity of holding such an official status, 
etc. Hence Bench of bishops. The whole 
body of prelates, who sit in the House of Lords. 
To be raised to the bench. To be made a 

To be raised to the Episcopal bench. To be 

made a bishop. 

King's (or Queen's) Bench. See KING'S. 

Bench and Bar. Judges and barristers. 

Benchers. Senior members of the Inns of 
Court. They exercise the functions of calling 
students to the bar (q.v.}. and have powers of 

Bend. In heraldry, an ordinary formed by 
two parallel lines drawn across the shield from 
the dexter chief (i.e. the top left-hand corner 
when looking at the shield) to the sinister 
base point (/.*. the opposite corner). It is 
said to represent the sword-belt. 

Bend sinister. A bend running across the 
shield in the opposite direction, i.e. from right 
to left. It often is an indication of bastardy 
(cp. BAR SINISTER); hence the phrase "he has a 
bend sinister" he was not born in lawful wed- 

96 Benedictines 

Bendemeer (ben' de mer). A river that flows 
near the ruins of Chilminar or Istachar, in the 
province of Chusistan, in Persia. 

There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's 

And the nightingale sings round it all the day 

MOORE : Lalla Rookh, I. 

Bender. A sixpenny-piece; perhaps because 
it can be bent without much difficulty. Also 
(in schoolboy slang) a "licking*' with the 
cane, the culprit being in a bent position. In 
Scotland it is an old term for a hard drinker 
and in the United States it is still given to a 
drinking bout. 

Bendigo (ben' di go). The nickname (said to 
be a corruption of "Abednego") of William 
Thompson (1811-89), a well-known pugilist. 
He left his nickname to a township in Victoria* 
Australia, and also to a rough fur cap. The 
Australian town changed its name to Sand- 
hurst, but subsequently officially reverted to its 
original appellation. 

Bendy, Old. One of the numerous euphemistic 
names of the devil, who is willing to bend to 
anyone's inclination. 

Benedicite (ben e dls' i ti). The 2nd pers, pi 
imperative of the Latin verb, benedicere, 
meaning "bless you," or "may you be 
blessed." In the first given sense it is the 
opening word of many old graces ("Bless ye 
the Lord," etc.); hence, a grace, or a blessing. 
The second sense accounts for its use as 
an interjection or expression of astonishment 
as in Chaucer's ' 

The god of love, A benedicite, 
How myghty and how great a lord is he! 

Knight's Tale, 927. 

Benedick. A sworn bachelor caught in the 
snares of matrimony: from Benedick in 
Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. 

Let our worthy Cantab be bachelor or Benedick 
what concern is it of ours. Mrs. EDWARDS: A 
Girton Girl, ch. xv. 

Benedict are used indis 
the distinction should be 

Beyond my bend, i.e. my means or power. 
The phrase is probably a corruption of 'beyond 
my bent, but it may be in allusion to a bow or 
spring, which, if strained beyond its bending 
power, breaks. 

Benedick and 
criminately, but 

Benedict. A bachelor, not necessarily one 
pledged to celibacy, but simply a man of 
marriageable age, not married. St. Benedict 
was a most uncompromising stickler for 

Is it not a pun? There is an old saying, "Needles 
and pins; when a man marries his trouble begins." 
*f so the unmarried man is benedictus.Llfe m the 

Benedictine. A liqueur made at the Benedic- 
tine monastery at Fecamp, France. 

Benedictines. Monks who follow the rule of 
St. Benedict. They recite the Divine Office 
at the canonical hours, and are at other times 
employed in study, teaching or manual labour. 
They are known as the "Black Monks" 
(the Dominicans being the Black Friars}. The 
Order was founded by St. Benedict at Subiaco 
and Monte Cassino, Italy, about 530, and its 
members have from the earliest times been 
renowned for their learning. A similar order 
for nuns was founded by St. Scholastica, sister 
of St. Benedict. 




Benefice. Under the Romans certain grants 
of lands made to veteran soldiers were called 
beneficia y and in feudal times an estate held 
for life in return for military or other service 
ex mero beneficio of the donor was called "a 
benefice.'* When the popes assumed the 
power of the feudal lords with reference to 
ecclesiastical patronage the name was re- 
tained for a "living." 

Benefit of Clergy. Originally, the privilege 
of exemption from trial by a secular court 
enjoyed by the clergy if arrested for felony. In 
time it comprehended not only the ordained 
clergy, but all who, being able to write and 
read, were capable of entering into holy 
orders. It seems to have been based on the 
text, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my 
prophets no harm" (1 Chron. xvi, 22), and it 
was finally abolished in the reign of George 
IV (1827). Cp. NECK-VERSE. 

Benelux. A name for the customs union 
(1947) of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxem- 
burg, the first letters of which form this 
convenient portmanteau word. 

Benevolence. A means-*of raising money by 
forced loans and without the instrumentality 
of Parliament, first resorted to in 1473 by 
Edward IV. It seems to have been used for 
the last time by James I in 1614, but it was not 
declared illegal till the passing of the Bill of 
Rights in 1689. 

Bsngal Tigers. The old 17th Foot, whose 
badge, a royal tiger, was granted them for 
their services in India (1802-23). Now the 
Leicester Regiment and known simply as 
"The Tigers." 

Bengodi (ben go' di). A "land of Cockaigne" 
mentioned in Boccaccio's Decameron (vm, 3), 
where "they tie the vines with sausages, 
where you may buy a fat goose for a penny 
and have a gosling into the bargain; where 
there is also a mountain of grated Parmesan 
cheese, and people do nothing but make 
cheesecakes and macaroons. There is also a 
river which runs Malmsey wine of the very 
best quality"; etc., etc. 

Benicia Boy (ben is' ya). John C. Heenan, 
the American pugilist, who challenged and 
fought Tom Sayers for "the belt" in 1860; 
so called from Benicia in California, his birth- 

Benjamin. The pet, the youngest; in allusion 
to Benjamin, the youngest son*of Jacob (Gen. 
xxxv, 18). Also (in early- and mid- 19th cent,), 
an overcoat; so called from a tailor of the 
name, and rendered popular by its association 
with Joseph's "coat of many colours." 

Benjamin's mess. The largest share. The 
allusion is to the banquet given by Joseph, 
viceroy of Egypt, to his brethren. " Ben- 
jamin's mess was five times so much as any of 
theirs" (Gen. xliii, 34). 

Benjamin tree. A tree of the Styrax family 
that yields benzoin, of which the name is a 
corruption, and so used by Ben Jonson in 
Cynthia's Revels (V, ii), where the Perfumer 
says : 

Taste, smell; I assure you, sir, pure benjamin, the 
only spirited scent that ever awaked a Neapolitan 

Benthos (ben'thos). This is a new word in 
English, coming directly from a Greek word 
meaning the sea-bottom. It is now applied 
particularly to the bottom of deep oceans and 
to the minute aquatic organisms that live down 

Beowulf (ba' 6 wulf). The hero of the ancient 
Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the same name, 
of unknown date and authorship, but certainly 
written before the coming of the Saxons to 
England, and modified subsequent to the 
introduction of Christianity. 

The scene is laid in Denmark or Sweden: 
the hall (Heorot) of King Hrothgar is raided 
nightly by Grendel (q.v.), whom Beowulf 
mortally wounds after a fierce fight. Gren- 
del's dam comes next night to avenge his 
death. Beowulf pursues her to her lair under 
the water and ultimately slays her with a magic 
sword. Beowulf in time becomes king, and 
fifty years later meets his death in combat with 
a dragon, the guardian of an immense hoard, 
the faithful Wiglaf being his only follower at 
the end. 

The epic as we know it dates from the 8th 
century, but it probably represents a gradual 
growth which existed in many successive ver- 
sions. In any case, it is not only the oldest 
epic in English, but the oldest in the whole 
Teutonic group of languages. 

Bereans. Followers of John Barclay, of Kin- 
cardmeshire, who seceded from the Scottish 
Kirk in 1773. They believed that all we know 
of God is from revelation; that all the Psalms 
refer to Christ; that assurance is the proof of 
faith; and that unbelief is the unpardonable 
sin. They took their name from the Bereans, 
mentioned in Acts xvii, 11, who "received the 
Word with all readiness of mind, and searched 
the Scriptures daily." 

Berecynthian Hero. Midas, the mythological 
king of Phrygia; so called from Mount 
Berecyntus, in Phrygia. 

Berenice. The sister-wife of Ptolemy Euer- 
getes, king of Egypt (247-222 B.C.). She 
vowed to sacrifice her hair to the gods, if her 
husband returned home the vanquisher of 
Asia. She suspended her hair in the temple 
of Arsinoe at Zephyrium, but it was stolen the 
first night, and Conon of Samos told the king 
that the winds had wafted it to heaven, where 
it still forms the seven stars near the tail of 
Leo, called Coma Berenices. The story has 
been used as the subject of many great works, 
particularly Racine's tragedy and an opera by 

Bergomask (ber' go mask). A rustic dance 
(see Midsummer Night's Dream, v, 1); so 
called from Bergamo, a Venetian province, 
the inhabitants of which were noted for their 
clownishness. Also, a clown. 

Berkshire (bark' sher). From the A.S. Berroc- 
shyre, either from its abundance of berroc 
(box-trees), or the bare-oak-shire, from a 
polled oak common in Windsor Forest, where 
the Britons used to hold meetings. 



Beside the Cushion 

Berlin. An old-fashioned four-wheeled car- 
riage with, a hooded seat behind. It was intro- 
duced into England by a German officer about 

Berlin Decree. A decree issued at Berlin by 
Napoleon I in November, 1806, forbidding 
any of the nations of Europe to trade with 
Great Britain, proclaiming her to be in a state 
of blockade, declaring all British property 
forfeit, and all British subjects on French soil 
prisoners of war. 

Bermoothes (her mo ooth' ez). The name of 
the island in The Tempest, feigned by Shakes- 
speare to be enchanted and inhabited by 
witches and devils. 

From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she's hid. 
The Tempest, i, 2. 

Shakespeare almost certainly had the 
recently discovered Bermudas in his mind. 

Bermudas (her mu' daz). The Bermudas was 
an old name for a district of London thought 
to have been the narrow alleys in the neigh- 
bourhood of Covent Garden, St. Martin's 
Lane, and the Strand which was an Alsatia 
<#.v.), where the residents had certain privileges 
against arrest. Hence, to live in the Bermudas, 
to skulk in some out-of-the-way place for 
cheapness or safety. 

Bernard, St. Abbot of the monastery of 
Clairvaux in the 12th century (1091-1153). 
His fame for wisdom was very great, and few 
Church matters were undertaken without his 
being consulted. 

Bonus Bernardus non yidet orania. We are 

all apt to forget sometimes; events do not 
always turn out as they are planned before- 

Poor Peter was to win honours at Shrewsbury 
school, and carry them thick to Cambridge; and 
after that a living awaited him, the gift of his god- 
father, Sir Peter Arley; but Bonus Bernardus non 
videt omnia, and Poor Peter's lot in life was very 
different to what his friends had planned. Mrs. 
GASKEU.: Cranford, ch. vi. 

St. Bernard Soup. See STONE SOUP. 

Petit Bernard. Solomon Bernard, engraver 
of Lyons (16th century). 

Poor Bernard. Claude Bernard, of Dijon, 
philanthropist (1588-1641). 

Lucullus Bernard. Samuel Bernard, a 
famous French capitalist (1651-1739). 

Le gentil Bernard. Pierre Joseph Bernard, 
the French poet (1710-75). 

St. Bernard dogs. See ST. BERNARD 

Bemardine. A monk of the Order of St. 
Bernard of Clairvaux; a Cistercian (?.v.). 

Bernardo del Carpio. A semi-mythical Span- 
ish hero of the 9th century, and a favourite 
subject of the minstrels, and of Lope de Vega 
who wrote many plays around his exploits. 
He is credited with having defeated Roland at 

Bernesque Poetry. Serio-comic poetry; so 
called from Francesco Berni (1498-1535), 
of Tuscany, who greatly excelled in it. Byron's 

Beppo is a good example of English bernesque; 
and concerning it Byron wrote to John 
Murray, his publisher : 

Whistlecraft is my immediate model, but Berni is 
the father of that kind of writing. 

Berserker. In Scandinavian mythology, a 
wild, ferocious, warlike being who was at 
times possessed of supernatural strength and 
fury. The origin of the name is doubtful; 
one account says that it was that of the grand- 
son of the eight-handed Starkader and the 
beautiful Alfhilde, who was called bter-serce 
(bare of mail) because he went into battle 
unharnessed. Hence, any man with the 
fighting fever on him. 

Another disregards this altogether and holds 
that the name means simply "men^who have 
assumed the form of bears.'* It is used in 
English both as an adjective denoting excessive 
fury and a noun denoting one possessed of 

Berth. He has tumbled into a nice berth. 

A nice situation or fortune. The place in 
which a ship is anchored is called its berth, 
and the sailors call it a good or bad berth as 
they think it favourable or otherwise. The 
space also allotted to a seaman for his ham- 
mock is called his berth.' 

To give a wide berth. Not to come near a 
person; to keep a person at a distance; literally, 
to give a ship plenty of room to swing at 

Bertha, Frau. A German impersonation of 
the Epiphany, corresponding to the Italian 
Befana (<y.v.). She is a white lady, who steals 
softly into nurseries and rocks infants asleep, 
but is the terror of all naughty children. Her 
feet are very large, and she has an iron nose. 

Berthe aii Grand Pied (bert 6 gron pe a). 
Mother of Charlemagne, and great-grand- 
daughter of Charles Martel; so called because 
she had a club-foot. She died at an advanced 
age in 783. 

Bertram, Count of Rousillon, beloved by 
Helena, the hero of Shakespeare's All's Well 
that Ends Well 

I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram, a man 
noble without generosity, and young without truth; 
who marries Helena as a coward, and leaves her as 
a profligate. Dr. JOHNSON. 

Besaile. A word formerly used in England 
for a great-grandfather; it is the French 

Writ of besaile. An old legal term mean- 

A writ that lies for the heire, where his great 
grandfather was seized the day that he died, or died 
seised of Land in fee-simple, and a stranger enters 
the day of the death of the great grandfather, or 
abates after his death, the heire shall have writ 
against such a disseisor or abater. Termes de la Ley 

Besant. See BEZANT. 

Beside the Cushion, an odd phrase first used 
by Judge Jeffreys in the sense of "beside the 
question," "not to the point." Any cogent 
point raised by some wretch in his own defence 
was ruthlessly swept away as "beside the 




Besom. To hang out the besom. To have a 
fling when your wife is gone on a visit. To be 
a quasi bachelor once more. Cp, the French 
colloquialism, rotir le balai. 

(Literally, "to roast the besom") which means 
"to live a fast life" or "to go on the razzle-dazzle." 

Jumping the besom. Omitting the marriage 
service after the publication of banns, and 
living together as man and wife. 

In Lowland Scots, besom is a contemp- 
tuous name applied to a prostitute or woman of 
low character, but it is by no means certain 
that the word is connected with either of the 
above usages. 

Bess, Good Queen. Queen Elizabeth (1533- 

Bess o* Bedlam. A female lunatic vagrant. 

Bess of Hardwick. Elizabeth Talbot, Coun- 
tess of Shrewsbury (1518-1608), to whose 
charge, in 1569, Mary Queen of Scots was 
committed. The countess treated the captive 
queen with great harshness, being jealous of 
me earl her husband. Bess of Hardwick 
married four times : Robert Barlow (when she 
was only fourteen); Sir William Cavendish; 
Sir William St. Loe, Captain of Queen 
Elizabeth's Guard; and lastly, George, sixth 
Earl of Shrewsbury. She built Hardwick 
Hall, and founded the wealth and dignity of 
the Cavendish family. 

Bessie Bell and Mary Gray. A ballad 
relating how two young women of Perth, to 
avoid the plague of 1666, retired to a rural 
retreat called the Burnbraes, near Lynedock, 
the residence of Mary Gray. A young man, 
in love with both, carried them provisions, and 
they all died of the plague and were buried at 
Dornock Hough. 

Bessie with the braid apron. See BELTED 

Bessee of Bednall Green. See BEGGAR'S 

Bessemer Process. The conversion of cast iron 
to steel by oxidizing the carbon by passing 
currents of air through the molten metal, 
patented by Sir Henry Bessemer in 1856. 

Best. At best or At the very best. Looking 
at the matter in the most favourable light. 
Making every allowance. 

Man is a short-sighted creature at best DEFOE: 
Colonel Jack. 

At one's best. At the highest or best point 
attainable by the person referred to. 

For the best. With the best of motives; 
with the view of obtaining the best results. 

I must make the best of my way home. It is 
getting late and I must use my utmost diligence 
to get home as soon as possible. 

To best somebody. To get the better of him ; 
to outwit him and so have the advantage. 

To have the best of it, or, To have the best of 
the bargain. To have the advantage or best of 
a transaction. 

To make the best of the matter. To submit 
to ill-luck with the best grace in your power. 

See also BETTER. 


Bestiaries or Bestials. Books very popular in 
the llth, 12th, and 13th centuries, containing 
accounts of the supposed habits and peculiar- 
ities of animals, which, with the legendary lore 
connected with them, served as texts for 
devotional homilies. They were founded on 
the old Physiologi^ and those in English were, 
for the most part, translations of Continental 
originals. The Bestiaires of Philippe de 
Thaon, Guillaume le Clerc, and Le Bestiaire 
cT Amour ^ by Richard de Fournival,were among 
the most popular. 

Bete Noire (bat nwar) (Fr. black beast). The 
thorn in the side, the bitter in the cup, the 
spoke in the wheel, the black sheep, the object 
of aversion. A black sheep has always been 
considered an eyesore in a ftock, and its wool 
is really less valuable. In times of supersti- 
tion it was looked on as bearing the devil's 

The Dutch sale of tin is the bete noire of the 
Cornish miners. The Times. 

Beth Gelert (Beddgelert), or "the Grave of the 
Greyhound." A balJad by the Hon. William 
Robert Spencer (1769-1834). The tale is 
that one day Llewelyn returned from hunting, 
when his favourite hound, covered with gore, 
ran to meet him. The chieftain ran to see if 
anything had happened to his infant son, found 
the cradle overturned, and all around was 
sprinkled with blood. Thinking the hound 
had eaten the child, he stabbed it to the heart. 
Afterwards he found the babe quite safe, and 
a huge wolf under the bed, dead; Gelert had 
killed the wolf and saved the child. The 
story is of very old 9rigin and very widespread: 
with variations it is found in Sanskrit and in 
most ancient literatures. 

It is told of Tsar Piras of Russia and in the Gesta, 
Romanorum* of Folhculus a knight, but instead of a 
wolf the dog is said to have killed a serpent. The 
story occurs again in the Seven Wise Masters. In 
the Sanskrit version the dog is called an ichneumon 
and the wolf a " black snake." In the Hitopadesci 
(iv, 3) the dog is an otter; in the Arabic a weasel; 
in the Mongolian a polecat, in the Persian a cat, etc. 

Bethlehemites. An order of reformed 'Dom- 
inicans, the friars of which wore a star upon 
the breast in memory of the Star of Bethlehem, 
introduced into England about 1257. Also 
a branch of the Augustinians, founded in 
Guatemala in 1653 by Peter Betancus, a 
native of the Canaries, for spreading the 
Gospel and serving the sick in Spanish 
America. Its members wore a shield on the 
right shoulder, on which was shown the 
manger of Bethlehem. 

Bethlemenites. Followers of John Huss, so 
called because he used to preach in the church 
called Bethlehem of Prague. 

Bethnal Green. See BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER. 

Betrothal. An engagement is nowadays 
considered a more or less private affair which 
may or may not be made the occasion of 
celebrations. It was formerly and still is on 
the Continent a ceremony of more public 
importance. Canon law recognizes betrothal 
as a formal ceremony consisting of an ex- 
change of rings (hence the English engage- 
ment ring), a kiss (not unknown in England 




either), and the joining of hands in the pres- 
ence of witnesses. In France all this had to be 
done in the presence of the parish priest. It 
was also usual for the parties to break a coin 
and each keep a portion. This ceremony was 
binding, though the engagement could be 
broken by mutual cpnsent The Church, 
however, reserved to itself the right to ex- 
communicate either party who, without cause 
or agreement with the other, broke it off. in 
England the Civil Law came down in the 
same sense when, in 1735, an Act was passed 
enabling an aggrieved party to bring an action 
at common law for breach of promise. 
Betrothed, The. Curiously enough, this title 
was chosen independently of one another _ by 
two great writers who published historical 
novels in the same year, 1825. Sir Walter 
Scott's Betrothed is a tale of the Crusaders 
and Wales; Manzoni's Betrothed (I Promessi 
Sposi) is about Milan in the 17th century. 
Better. Better off. In easier circumstances. 

For better for worse. For ever. Frorn the 
English marriage service, expressive of an 
indissoluble union. 

My better half. A jocose way of saying my 
wife. As the twain are one, each is half. 
Horace calls his friend animce dimidium mete 
(Odes 1, iii, 8). 

To be better than his word. To do more 
than he promised. 

To think better of the matter. To give it 
further consideration; to form a more correct 
opinion respecting it. 

Bettina. The name taken m by Elizabeth 
Brentano, Countess von Armm 0785-1859), 
in her publication, Letters to a Child, in 1835. 
The letters purported to be her correspondence 
with Goethe (1807-11), but they are largely 

Betubium (be tu' bi urn). The old poetic 
name for the Cape of St. Andrew, Scotland. 
The north-inflated tempest foams 
O'er Orka's and Betubmm's highest peak. 

THOMSON: Autumn. 

Between. Between hay and grass. Neither 
one thing nor yet another; a hobbledehoy, 
neither a man nor yet a boy. 

Between cup and lip. See SLIP. 

Between Scylla and Charybdis. See CHARYB- 


Between two fires. Between two dangers. 
Troops caught between fire from opposite 

Between two stools you fall to the ground. 

The allusion is to a practical joke played at 
sea, in which two stools are set side by side, 
and it is arranged that the victim shall un- 
expectedly fall between them . Compare . 
Like a man to double business bound, 
I stand m pause where I shall first begin, 
And both neglect. 

SHAKESPEARE. Hamlet, ii, 3. 
He who hunts two hares leaves one and loses the 
Simul sorbere ac flare non possum. 

Between you and me. In confidence be it 
spoken. Sometimes, Between you and me and 
the gatepost (or bed-post). These phrases, for 
the most part, indicate that some illnatured 
remark or slander is about to be made of a 
third person, but occasionally they refer to 
some offer or private affair. Between ourselves 
is another form of the same phrase. 
Betwixt. Betwixt and between. Neither one 
nor the other, but somewhere between the 
two. Thus, grey is neither white nor black, 
but betwixt and between the two. 

Betwixt wind and water. A nautical phrase 
denoting that part of the hull that is below the 
water-line except when the ship heels over under 
pressure of the wind. It was a most dangerous 
place for a man-of-war to be shot m; hence a 
"knock-out" blow is often said to have 
caught the victim betwixt wind and water. 
Beulah. See LAND OF BEULAH. 
Bever (bev'er). A "snack" or light repast 
(originally a drink) between meals; through 
O.Fr. beivre (Mod Fr. boire) from Lat. 
bibere. to dnnk beverage has the same 
ancestry. At Eton they used to have Bever 
days," when extra beer and bread were served 
during the afternoon in the College Hall to 
scholars, and any friends whom they might 
bring in. 

He is none of these same ordinary eaters, that will 
devour three breakfasts, and as many dinners without 
any prejudice to their bevers, drinkings, or suppers. 
BEAUMONT and FLETCHER: Woman Hater, i, 3. 

Chapman, in the Odyssey, however, uses 
the word for "supper": 

" So chance it, friend," replied Telemachus, 
" Your bever taken, go. In first of day 
Come and bring sacrifice the best you may.' 
Bk xvn, 794. 

Bevin Boys. Under the Emergency Powers 
Defence Bill, of 1940, certain lads were 
directed to work in coal mines. Ernest Bevin 
(1881-1951) was Minister of Labour and 
National Service, and his name was popularly 
attached to the boys thus directed. 
Bevis (be' vis). Marmion's horse. See 

Sir Bevis of Hamtown. A mediaeval 
chivalric romance, slightly connected with the 
Charlemagne cycle, which (in the English 
version) tells how the father of Bevis was slam 
by the mother, and how, on Bevis trying to 
avenge the murder, she sold him into slavery 
to Eastern merchants. After many adven- 
tures he converts and carries off Josian, 
daughter of the Soldan, returns to England, 
gets his revenge, and all ends happily. "Ham- 
town" is generally taken as meaning "South- 
ampton," but it is really a corruption of 
Antona, for in the original Italian version the 
hero is called "Beuves d'Antone," which, in 
the French, became "Beuves d'Hantone." 
Drayton tells the story in his Polyolbion, Song 
ii, lines 260-384. 

Bevoriskius (be vor is' kius), whose Com- 
mentary on the Generations of Adam is referred 
to by Sterne in the Sentimental Journey f , was 
Johan van Beverwyck (1594-1647), a Dutch 
medical writer and author of a large number 
of books. 




Bevy. A throng or company of ladies, roe- 
bucks, quails, or larks. The word is the 
Italian beva, a drink, but it is not known how 
it acquired its present meaning. It may be 
because timid, gregarious animals, in self- 
defence, go down to a river to drink in 

And upon her deck what a bevy of human flowers 
young women, how lovely! young men, how 
noble! DE QUINCEY: Dream-fugue. 

Bey. A Turkish word for the governor of a 
town or province; also a title conferred by the 
Sultan, and a courtesy title given to the sons 
of Pashas, See BASHAW; BEGUM; and cp. DEY. 

Bezaliel (be za' li el). In Dryden's Absalom 
and Achitophel is meant for Henry Somerset, 
3rd Marquis of Worcester and 1st Duke of 
Beaufort ( 1 629- 1 700) . He was an adherent of 
Charles II. 

Bezaliel with each grace and virtue fraught, 
Serene his looks, serene his life and thought; 
On whom so largely Nature heaped her store, 
There scarce remained for arts to give him more. 

Pt. ii, 947. 

Bezant (bezantO (from Byzantium, the old 
name of Constantinople). A gold coin of 
greatly varying value struck at Constantinople 
by the Byzantine Emperors. It was current 
in England till the time of Edward III. In 
heraldry, the name is given to a plain gold 
roundel borne as a charge, and supposed to 
indicate that the bearer had been a Crusader. 

Bezoar (be' zor). A st9ne from the stomach 
or gall-bladder of an animal, set as a jewel and 
believed to be an antidote against poison. 

Bezonian (bezo'nian). A new recruit; 
applied originally in derision to young soldiers 
sent from Spain to Italy, who landed both ill- 
accoutred and in want of everything (Ital. 
besogni, from bisogno, need; Fr. besom). 
" Under which king, bezonian? Speak or 
die" (2 Hen. IV, v, 3). Choose your leader 
or take the consequences. 

Great men oft die by vile bezonians. 

SHAKESPEARE. 2 Henry VI, iv, 1. 

Bianchi (be ang' ki). The political faction in 
Tuscany to which Dante belonged. It and 
the Neri, both being branches of the Guelph 
family, engaged in a feud shortly before 1300 
which became very violent in Florence and the 
neighbouring cities, and eventually the 
Bianchi joined the Ghibellines, the opponents 
of the Guelphs. In 1301 the Bianchi, includ- 
ing Dante, were exiled from Florence. 

Bias (bi' as). The weight in bowls which 
makes them deviate from the straight line; 
hence any favourite idea or pursuit, or what- 
eyer predisposes the mind in a particular 

Bowls are not now loaded, but the bias 
depends on the shape of the bowls. They are 
flattened on one side, and therefore roll 

Your stomach makes your fabric roll 

Just as the bias rules the bowl. 

PRIOR: Alma, lii. 

Bib. Best bib and tucker. See TUCKER. 

Biberlus Caldius Mero. The punning nick- 
name of Tiberius Claudius Nero (the Roman 
Emperor, Tiberius, who reigned from A.D. 14 

to 37). Biberius (Tiberius) drink-loving, 
Caldius Mero (Claudius Nero), by metathesis 
for calidus mero, hot with wine. 

Bible, The English. The principal versions of 
the English Bible in chronological order are : 

Wyclifs Bible. The name given to two 
translations of the Vulgate, one completed in 
1380 and the other a few years later, in neither 
of which was Wyclif concerned as a translator. 
Nicholas of Hereford made the first version as 
far as Baruch iii, 20, who was responsible for 
the remainder is unknown. The second 
version has been ascribed to John Purvey, a 
follower of Wyclif. The Bible of 1 380 was the 
first complete version in English ; as a whole it 
remained unpnnted until 1850, when the 
monumental edition of the two versions by 
Forshall and Madden appeared, but in 1810 
an edition of the New Testament was published 
by H. H. Baber, an assistant librarian at the 
British Museum. 

Tyndale's Bible. This consists of the New 
Testament (printed at Cologne, 1525), the 
Pentateuch (Marburg, Hesse, 1530 or 1531), 
Jonah, Old Testament lessons appointed to 
be read in place of the Epistles, and a MS. 
translation of the Old Testament to the end of 
Chronicles which was afterwards used in 
Matthew's Bible fa.v,). His revisions of the 
New Testament were issued in 1534 and 1535. 
Tyndale's principal authority was Erasmus's 
edition of the Greek Testament, but he also 
used Erasmus's Latin translation of the same, 
the Vulgate, and Luther's German version. 
Tyndale's version fixed the style and tone of 
the English Bible, and subsequent Protestant 
versions of the books on which he worked 
should with one or two minor exceptions 
be looked upon as revisions of his, and not as 
independent translations. 

Coverdale's Bible. The first complete 
English Bible to be printed, published in 1535 
as a translation out of Douche (i.e. German) 
and Latin by Myles Coverdale. It consists of 
Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch and 
New Testament, with translations from the 
Vulgate, a Latin version (1527-8) by the Italian 
Catholic theologian, Sanctes Peginus, Luther's 
German version (1534) and the Swiss- 
German version of Zwingli and Leo Juda 
(Zurich, 1527-9). The first edition was printed 
at Antwerp, but the second (Southwark, 1537) 
was the first Bible printed in England. Mat- 
thew's Bible (q.v.) is largely based on Cover- 
dale's. See BUG BIBLE below. 

Matthew's Bible. A pronouncedly Protes- 
tant version published in 1537 as having been 
"truly and purely translated into English by 
Thomas Matthew," which was a pseudonym, 
adopted for purposes of safety, of John 
Rogers, an assistant of Tyndale. It was 
probably printed at Antwerp, and the text 
is made up of the Pentateuch from Tyndale's 
version together with his hitherto unpnnted 
translation of Joshua to 2 Chronicles inclusive 
and his revised edition of the New Testament, 
with Coverdale's version of the rest of the Old 
Testament and the Apocrypha. It was quickly 
superseded by the Great Bible (<7-v,), but it is 
of importance as it formed the starting-point 

Bible 102 

for the revisions which culminated in the 
Authorized Version. See BUG BIBLE below. 

The Great Bible. Coverdale's revision of 
his own Bible of 1535 (see COVERD ALE'S 
BIBLE above), collated with Tyndale's and 
Matthew's, printed in Paris by Regnault, and 
published by Grafton and Whitchurch in 1539. 
It is a large folio, and a splendid specimen 
of typography. It is sometimes called 
"Cromwell's Bible," as it was undertaken at 
his direction, and it was made compulsory for 
all parish churches to purchase a copy. The 
Prayer Book version of the Psalms comes from 
the November, 1540, edition of the Great 
Bible. See also CRANMER'S BIBLE. 

Cranmer ? s Bible. The name given to the 
Great Bible (q.v.) of 1540. It, and later 
issues, contained a prologue by Cranmer, and 
on the wood-cut title-page (by Holbein) 
Henry VIII is shown seated while Cranmer and 
Cromwell distribute copies to the people. 

Cromwell's Bible. The Great Bible (#.v.) of 
1539. The title-page (see CRANMER'S BIBLE 
above} includes a portrait of Thomas Cromwell. 

The Bishops' Bible. A version made at the 
instigation of Archbishop Parker (hence also 
called "Matthew Parker's Bible"), to which 
most of the Anglican bishops were contribu- 
tors. It was a revision of the Great Bible 
(tf.v.), first appeared in 1568, and by 1602 had 
reached its eighteenth edition. It is this 
edition that forms the basis of our Authorized 
Version. See TREACLE BIBLE below. 

The Geneva Bible. A revision of great 
importance in the history of the English Bible, 
undertaken by English exiles at Geneva during 
the Marian persecutions and first published m 
1560. It was the work of William Whitting- 
ham, assisted by Anthony Gilby and Thomas 
Sampson. Whittingham had previously(l 557) 
published a translation of the New Testament. 
The Genevan version was the first English 
Bible to be printed in roman type instead of 
black letter, the first in which the chapters are 
divided into verses (taken by Whittingham 
from Robert Stephen's Gjeek-Latin Testa- 
ment of 1537), and the first in which italics are 
used for explanatory and connective words and 
phrases (taken from Beza's New Testament of 
1556). It was immensely popular; from 1560 
to 1616 no year passed without a new edition, 
and at least two hundred are known. In 
every edition the word "breeches" occurs in 
Gen. iii, 7; hence the Geneva Bible is popularly 
known as the "Breeches Bible" (<?.v.). ^See 

The Authorized Version. This, the version 
in general use in England, was made by a body 
of scholars working at the command of King 
James I (hence sometimes called "King 
James's Bible") from 1604 to 1611, and was 
published in 1611. The modern "Authorized 
Version" is, however, by no means an exact 
reprint of that authorized by King James; a 
large number of typographical errors which 
occurred in the first edition have been cor- 
rected, the orthography, punctuation, etc., has 
been modernized, and the use of italics, 
capital letters, etc., varied. The Bishops' 


Bible (<?.v.) was used as the basis of the text, but 
Tyndale's, Matthew's, Coverdale's, and the 
Geneva translations were also followed when 
they agreed better with the original. 

The Revised Version. A revision of the 
Authorized Version commenced under a 
resolution passed by both Houses of Con- 
vocation in 1870 by a body of twenty-five 
English scholars (assisted and advised by an 
American Committee), the New Testament 
published in 1881, the complete Bible in 1885, 
and the Apocrypha in 1895. 

Rheims-Douai Version. See DOUAI BIBLE 

Taverner's Bible. An independent trans- 
lation by a Greek scholar, Richard Taverner, 
printed in 1539 (the same year as the first 
Great Bible) by T. Petit for T. Berthelet. It 
had no influence on the Authorized Version, 
but is remarkable for its vigorous, idiomatic 
English, and for being the first English Bible 
to include a third Book of Maccabees in the 

The Douai Bible (dou' a). A translation of 
the Vulgate, made by English Catholic 
scholars in France for the use of English boys 
designed for the Catholic priesthood. The 
New Testament was published at Rheims in 
1582, and the Old Testament at Douai in 
1609; hence sometimes called the Rheims- 
Douai version. See ROSIN BIBLE. 

King James's Bible. The Authorized Ver- 
sion (#.v.). 

Matthew Parker's Bible, The Bishops' 
Bible (q.v.) f 

There have been several versions ^of the 
scriptures in modern English, of which the 
following are noteworthy: 

The New Testament in Modern Speech, 

translated from the Greek by R. F. Wey- 
mouth, 1903. 

A new translation of the Bible by James 
Moffat (N.T., 1913; O.T., 1924). 

A new translation from the Vulgate by R. A. 
Knox, 1944. 

The following Bibles are named either from 
typographical errors or archaic words that they 
contain, or from some special circumstance 
in connexion with them: 

Adulterous Bible. The "Wicked Bible" 

Affinity Bible, of 1923, which contains a 
table of affinity with the error: "A man may 
not marry his grandmother's wife." 

The Bear Bible. The Spanish Protestant 
version printed at Basle in 1569; so called 
because the woodcut device on the title-page 
is a bear. 

Bedell's Bible. A translation of the Author- 
ized Version into Irish carried out under the 
direction of Bedell (d. 1642), Bishop of Kilmore 
and Ardagh. 

The Breeches Bible. The Genevan Bible 
(see above) was popularly so called because in it 




Gen. in, 7, was rendered, "The eyes of them 
bothe were opened . . . and they sowed figge- 
tree leaves together, and made themselves 
breeches." This reading occurs in every 
edition of the Genevan Bible, but not in any 
other version, though it is given in the then 
un printed Wyclif MS. ("ya swiden ye levis of 
a fige tre and madm brechis"), and also in the 
translation of the Pentateuch given in Caxton's 
edition of Voragme's Golden Legend (1483). 

The Brother's Bible. The " Kralitz Bible " 

The Bug Bible. Coverdale's Bible (<?.v.), of 
1535, is so called because Ps. xci, 5, is trans- 
lated, "Thou shalt not nede to be afrayed for 
eny bugges by night." The same reading 
occurs in Matthew's Bible (q,v.) and its re- 

Erints; the Authorized and Revised Versions 
oth read " terror." 

Camels Bible, of 1823. Genesis xxiv, 61 
reads "And Rebekah arose, and her camels" 
for " damsels." 

Complutensian Polyglot. The great edition, 
in six folio volumes, containing the Hebrew 
and Greek texts, the Septuagmt, the Vulgate, 
and the Chaldee paraphrase of the Pentateuch 
with a Latin translation, together with Greek 
and Hebrew grammars and a Hebrew Diction- 
ary, prepared and printed at the expense of 
Cardinal Ximenes, and published at Alcala 
(the ancient Complutum) near Madrid, 

The Denial Bible was printed in Oxford in 
1792. In Luke xxii, 34 the name Philip is 
substituted for Peter, as the apostle who 
should deny Jesus. 

The Discharge Bible. An edition printed in 
1806 containing discharge for charge in 1 Tim. 
v, 21: "I ^-charge thee before, God, . . . that 
thou observe these things, etc." 

The Ears to Ear Bible. An edition of 1810, 
in which Matt, xiii, 43, reads: "Who hath 
ears to ear, let him hear." 

The Ferrara Bible. The first Spanish edition 
of the Old Testament, translated from the 
Hebrew in 1553 for the use of the Spanish 
Jews. A second edition was published in the 
same year for Christians. 

The Fool Bible. During the reign of Charles 
I an edition of the Bible was printed in which 
the text of Psalm xliv, 1 read "The fool hath 
said in his heart there is a God." For this 
mistake the printers were fined 3,000 and all 
copies were suppressed. 

Forgotten Sins Bible, of 1638. Luke vii, 47 
reads "Her sins which are many are for- 

The Forty-two Line Bible. The " Mazarin 
Bible " (tf.v.). 

The Goose Bible. The editions of the 
Genevan Bible (<?.v.) printed at Dort; the Dort 
press had a goose as its device. 

The Gutenberg Bible. The " Mazarin 
Bible " ($.v.). 

The He Bible. In the two earliest editions of 
the Authorized Version (both 1611) in the 
first (now known as "the He Bible") Ruth in',. 
15 reads: "and he went into the city"; the 

other (known as "the She Bible") has the 
variant ''she." "He" is the correct trans- 
lation of the Hebrew, but nearly all modern 
editions with the exception of the Revised 
Version perpetuate the confusion and print 

The Idle Bible. An edition of 1809, in 
which "the idole shepherd" (Zech. xi, 17) is 
printed " the idle shepherd." In the Revised 
Version the translation is "the worthless 

Incunabula Bible. The date on the title-page 
reads 1495 instead of 1594. 

Indian Bible. The first complete Bible 
printed in America, being translated into the 
dialect of the Indians of Massachusetts by 
John Eliot, and published by Samuel Green 
and Marmaduke Johnson (with the king's 
permission) in 1663. 

Judas Bible of 1611. Matt, xxvi, 36 reads 
"Judas" instead of "Jesus." 

The Kralitz Bible. The Bible published by 
the United Brethren of Moravia (hence known 
also as the Brother's Bible} at Kralitz, 1579- 

The "Large Family" Bible. An Oxford 
edition of 1820 prints Isaiah Ixvi, 9 "Shall I 
bring to the birth and not cease [instead of 
cause\ to bring forth." 

The Leda Bible. The third edition (second 
folio) of the Bishops' Bible (#.v.), published in 
1572, and so called because the decoration to 
the initial at the Epistle to the Hebrews is a 
startling and incongruous woodcut of Jupiter 
visiting Leda in the guise of a swan. This, 
and several other decorations in the New 
Testament of this edition, were from an 
edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses', they created 
such a storm of protest that they were never 
afterwards used. 

The Leopolita Bible. A Polish translation 
of the Vulgate by John of Lemberg (anc., 
Leopolis) published in 1561 at Cracow. 

The Lions Bible. A Bible issued in 1804 
contains a great number of printers* errors of 
which the following are typical: Numbers 
xxxv, 18, "The murderer shall surely be put 
together" instead of "to death"; 1 Kings viii, 
19, "but thy son that shall come forth out of 
thy lions" instead of "loins"; Galatians v, 
17, "For the flesh lusteth after the Spirit" 
instead of "against the Spirit". 

The Mazarin Bible. The first printed Bible 
(an edition of the Vulgate), and the first known 
book to be printed from movable type. It 
contains no date, but was printed probably in 
1455, and was certainly on sale by the middle 
of 1 456. It was printed at Mainz, probably by 
Fust and SchoerTer, but as it was for long 
credited to Gutenberg and it is not yet 
agreed that he was not responsible it is 
frequently called the Gutenberg Bible. By 
bibliographers it is usually known as the 
Forty-two Line Bible (it having 42 lines to the 
page), to differentiate it from the Bamberg 
Bible of 36 lines. Its popular name is due to 
the fact that the copy discovered in the Mazarin 
Library, Paris, in 1760, was the first to be 
known and described. A copy of Vol. I in 

Bible 104 

unusually fine state and contemporary binding 
fetched a record price of 21,000 at auction in 
London, in 1947. 

"More Sea" Bible, of 1641. Rev. xxi, 1 
reads "and there was more sea'* instead of 
"no more sea." 

The Murderers' Bible. An edition of 1801 
in which the misprint murderers for murmeret y 
makes Jude, 16, read: 'These are murderers, 
complainers, walking after their own lusts, 

The Old Cracow Bible. The "Leopolita 
Bible" (q.v.). 

The Ostrog Bible. The first complete 
Slavonic edition; printed at Ostrog, Volhyma, 
Russia, in 1581. 

Pfister's Bible. The "Thirty-six Line 
Bible" (<?.v.). 

The Place-makers" Bible. The second 
edition of the Geneva Bible (?.v,), 1562; so 
called from a printer's error in Matt, v, 9, 
"Blessed are the placemakers [peacemakers], 
for they shall be called the children of God." 
It has also been called the "Whig Bible." 

The Printers' Bible. An edition of about 
1702 which makes David pathetically com- 
plain that "printers [princes] have perse- 
cuted me without a cause " (Ps. cxix, 161). 

The Proof Bible (Probe-Bibel). The revised 
version of the first impression of Luther's 
German Bible. A final revised edition 
appeared in 1892. 

The Rosin Bible. The Douai Bible (q.v.). 
1609, is sometimes so called, because it has in 
Jer. vni, 22: "Is there noe rosin in Galaad." 
The Authorized Version translates the word 
by "balm," but gives "rosin" in the margin 
as an alternative. Cp. TREACLE BIBLE below. 

Sacy's Bible. A French translation, so 
called from Louis Isaac le Maistre de Sacy, 
director of Port Royal, 1650-79, He was 
imprisoned for three years in the Bastille for 
his Jansenist opinions, and there translated 
the Bible, 1667, completing it a few years later, 
after his release. 

Schelhorn's Bible. A name sometimes given 
to the "Thirty-six Line Bible" (#.v.). 

The September Bible. Luther's German 
translation of the New Testament, published 
anonymously at Wittenberg in September, 

The She Bible. See HE BIBLE. 

"Sin on" Bible. The first Bible printed in 
Ireland was dated 1716. John v, 14 reads 
"sin on more" instead of "sin no more " 
The mistake was not found out until the 
impression of 8,000 copies had been printed 
and bound. 

The Standing Fishes Bible. An edition of 
1806 in which Ezek. xlvii, 10, reads: "And it 
shall come to pass that the fishes [instead of 
fishers] shall stand upon it, etc." 

Sting Bible, of 1746. Mark vii, 35 reads 
"the sting of his tongue" instead of "string." 


The Thirty-six Line Bible. A Latin Bible 
of 36 lines to the column, probably printed by 
A. Pfister at Bamberg in 1460. It is also 
known as the Bamberg, and Pfister's, Bible, 
and sometimes as Schelhorn's, as it was first 
described by the German bibliographer J. G. 
Schelhorn, in 1760. 

The To-remain Bible. In a Bible printed at 
Cambridge in 1 805 Gal. iv, 29, reads : "Perse- 
cuted him that was born after the spirit to 
remain, even so it is now." The words "to 
remain" were added in error by the composi- 
tor, the editor having answered a proof- 
reader's query as to the comma after "spirit" 
with the pencilled reply "to remain" m the 
margin. The mistake was repeated in the 
first 8vo edition published by the Bible Society 
(1805), and again in their 12mo edition dated 

The Treacle Bible. A popular name for 
the Bishops' Bible (#.v.), 1568, because in it, 
Jer. viii, 22, reads: "Is there no tryacle in 
Gilead, is there no phisition there?" Cp. 
ROSIN BIBLE above. In the same Bible 
" tryacle " is also given for "balm" in Jer. 
xlvi, 11, and Ezek. xxvii, 17. Cover-dale's 
Bible (1535) also uses the word "triacle." 

The Unrighteous Bible. An edition printed 
at Cambridge in 1653, containing the printer's 
error, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall 
inherit [for shall not inherit] the Kingdom 
of God?" (1 Cor. vi, 9). The same edition 
gave Rom. vi, 13, as: " Neither yield ye your 
members as instruments of righteousness unto 
sin," in place of "w/zrighteousness." This is 
also sometimes known as the "Wicked Bible." 

The Vinegar Bible. An edition printed at 
Oxford in 1717 in which the chapter heading 
to Luke xx is given as "The parable of the 
Vinegar" (instead of "Vineyard"). 

The Whig Bible. Another name for the 
"Place-makers' Bible" 

The Wicked Bible. So called because the 
word not is omitted in the seventh command- 
ment, making it, "Thou shalt commit 
adultery." Printed at London by Barker and 
Lucas, 1632. The "Unrighteous Bible" 
(g.v.) is also sometimes called by this name. 

The Wife-hater Bible. An 1810 edition of 
the Bible gives Luke xiv, 26 as "If any man 
come to me, and hate not his father and 
mother . . yea, and his own wife also" 
instead of "life." 

Wuyck's Bible. The Polish Bible author- 
ized by the Roman Catholics and printed at 
Cracow in 1599. The translation was made 
by the Jesuit, Jacob Wuyck. 

The Zurich Bible. A German version of 
1530 composed of Luther's translation of the 
New Testament and portions of the Old, with 
the remainder and the Apocrypha by other 

statistics are those given in the Introduction to 
the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Bible, 
by Thos. Hartwell Home, D.D., first published 




in 1818. They apply to the English Author- 
ized Version. 

O.T. N.T. 

Books . 39 27 

Chapters . 929 260 

Verses . 23,214 7,959 




Words . 593,493 181,253 

Letters 2,728,100 838,380 

Apocrypha. Books, 14; chapters, 183; 
6,031; words, 125,185; letters, 1,063,876. 

O.T. N.T. 

Middle book Proverbs. 2 Thess. 

Middle chapter Job xxix. Rom. xiii and xiv. 

Middle verse 2 Chron. xx, Acts xvii, 17. 

17 & 18. 

Shortest verse 1 Chron. i, 25. John xi, 35. 
Shortest chapter Psalm cxvii. 
Longest chapter Psalm cxix. 

Ezra vn, 21, contains all the letters of the alphabet 
except j. 

2 Kings xix, and Isaiah xxxvii, are exactly alike. 

The last two verses of 2 Chron. and the opening 
verses of Ezra are alike. 

Ezra ii, and Nehemiah vii, are alike. 

The word and occurs in the O.T. 35,543 times, and 
in the N.T. 10,684 times. 

The word Jehovah occurs 6,855 times, and Lord 
1,855 times. 

About 30 books are mentioned in the Bible, but 
not included in the canon. 

Bible-backed. Round-shouldered, like one 
who is always poring over a book. 

Bible-carrier. A vagrant's term for an 
itinerant vendor of ballads who does nothing 
them; also a scornful term for an obtrusively 
pious person. 

Some scoffe at such as carry the scriptures with 
them to church, terming them in reproach Bible- 
carriers. GOUGE: Whole Armour of God, p. 318 

Bible Christians. An evangelical sect 
founded in 1815 by William O'Bryan, a 
Wesleyan, of Cornwall; also called Bryanites. 

Bible-Clerk. A sizar of certain colleges at 
Oxford who formerly got advantages for 
reading the Bible at chapel. 

Biblia Pauperum (the poor man's Bible). A 
picture-book, widely used by the illiterate in 
the Middle Ages in place of the Bible. It was 
designed to illustrate the leading events in the 
salvation of man, and later MSS. as a rule had 
a Latin inscription to each picture. These 
blblia were among the earliest books to be 
printed, and they remained popular long after 
the invention of movable type. See MIRROR 

BibKomancy. Divination by means of the 

Bibliomania. A love of books pursued to the 
point of unreason or madness. There is a 
legend that Don Vicente, a Spanish scholar, 
committed murder to obtain possession of 
what he thought was a unique book. 

Bibliophilia is a devotion to books and the 
collecting of them, that stops short of biblio- 

Bibulus (bib'ttlus). Colleague of Julius 
Caesar, a mere cipher in office, whence his 
name has become proverbial for one in office 
who is a mere faineant. 

Bickerstaff, Isaac. A name assumed by Dean 
Swift in a satirical pamphlet against Partridge, 
the almanack-maker. This produced a paper 

war so diverting that Steele issued the Tatler 
under the editorial name of "Isaac Bickerstaff, 
Esq., Astrologer" (1709). Later there was an 
actual Isaac Bickerstaffe, a playwright, born 
in Ireland in 1735. 

Bicorn (b I' korn) . A mythical beast, fabled by 
the early French romancers to grow very fat 
and well-favoured through living on good and 
enduring husbands. It was the antitype to 
Chichevache (<?.v.). 

Chichevache (or lean cow) was said to live on good 
women; and a world of sarcasm was conveyed in 
always representing Chichevache as very poor, 
all ribs, in fact her food being so scarce as to keep 
her in a wretched state of famine. Bycorne, on 
the contrary, was a monster who lived on good men; 
and he was always bursting with fatness, like a prize 
pig. SIDNEY LANIER: Shakespere and his Fore- 
runners, ch. vi. 

Ei-corn (two-horns) contains an allusion 
to the horned cuckold. 

Bid. The modern verb, "to bid," may be 
from either of the two Anglo-Saxon verbs, 
(1) beodan, meaning to stretch out, offer, 
present, and hence to inform, proclaim, 
command, or (2) biddan, meaning to impor- 
tune, beg, pray, and hence also, command. 
The two words have now become very con- 
fused, but the four following examples are 
from (1), beodan: 

To bid fair. To seem likely; as "He bids 
fair to do well"; "It bids fair to be a fine day." 

To bid for (votes). To promise to support 
in Parliament certain measures, in order to 
obtain votes. 

To bid against one. To offer or promise a 
higher price for an article at auction. 

I bid him defiance. I offer him defiance; I 
defy him. 

The examples next given are derived from 
(2), biddan: 

I bid you good night. I wish you good night, 
or I pray that you may have a good night. 
"Bid him welcome." 

Neither bid him God speed. 2 John 10, 11. 

To bid one's beads. To tell off one's prayers 
by beads. See BEADS. 

To bid the (marriage) banns. To ask if 
anyone objects to the marriage of the persons 
named. "Si quis" (<y.v.). 

To bid to the wedding. In the New Testa- 
ment is to ask to the wedding feast. 

Bid-ale. An entertainment at which drink- 
ing formed the excuse for collecting people 
together so that they could subscribe money for 
the benefit of some poor man or other charity. 
Bid-ales frequently developed into orgies. 

There was an antient custom called a Bidale or 
Bidder-ale . . . when any honest man decayed in 
his estate was set up again by the liberal benevolence 
and contributions of friends at a feast to which those 
friends were bid or invited. It was most used in 
the West of England, and in some counties called 
a Help-ale. 

BRAND'S Popular Antiquities (1777). 

Bidding-prayer (A.S. biddan\ see BID). This 
term, now commonly applied to a prayer for 
the souls of benefactors said before the sermon, 
is due to its having been forgotten after the 
Reformation that when the priest was telling 




the C9ngregation who or what to remember 
in "bidding their prayers" he was using the 
verb in its old sense of "pray," i.e. "praying 
their prayers." Hence, in Elizabeth's time 
the "bidding of prayers" car~~ +~ -: 
"the directing" or " enjoyning 

their prayers." Hence, in Elizabeth's time 
the "bidding of prayers" came to signify 
"the directing" or " enjoyning " of prayers; 
and hence the modern meaning. 

Biddy (i.e. Bridget). A generic name for an 
Irish servant-maid, as Mike is for an Irish 
labouier. These generic names were once 
very common: for example, Tom Tug, a 
waterman; Jack Pudding, a buffoon; Cousin 
Jonathan, a citizen of the United States; 
Cousin Michel, a German; John Bull, an 
Englishman; Colin Tonipon, a Swiss; Nic 
Frog, a Dutchman; Mossoo, a Frenchman; 
John Chinaman, and many others. 

In Arbuthnot's John Bull NIC Frog is cer- 
tainly a Dutchman; and Frogs are called 
"Dutch Nightingales." As the French have 
the reputation of feeding on frogs the word has 
been transferred to them, but, properly, Nic 
Frog is a Dutchman. 

Red Biddy is a highly intoxicating concoc- 
tion with a basis of cheap port. It is popular 
among certain elderly women in the East End 
of London. 

Bideford Postman. Edward Capern (1 8 19-94), 
the poet, so called from his former occupation 
and abode. 

Bidpai. See PILPAY. 

Bifrost (Icel. bifa, tremble, rost, path). In 
Scandinavian mythology, the bridge between 
heaven and earth, Asgard and Midgard; 
the rainbow^ may be considered to be this 
bridge, and its various colours are the reflec- 
tions of its precious stones. 
The keeper of the bridge is Heimdall (#.v.). 

Big. To look big. To assume a consequen- 
tial air. 

To look as big as buH beef. To look stout 
and hearty, as if fed on bull beef. Bull beef 
was formerly recommended for making men 
strong and muscular. 

To talk big. To boast or brag. 

Big Ben. The name given to the large bell 
in the Clock Tower (or St. Stephen's Tower) 
at the Houses of Parliament. It weighs 13$ 
tons, and is named after Sir Benjamin Hall, 
Chief Commissioner of Works in 1856, when 
it was cast. 

Big Bertha. A gun of large calibre used by 
the Germans to shell Paris from a range of 
75 miles, during the 1914-18 War. It was so 
named by the French in allusion to Frau 
Bertha Krupp, of armament fame. 

To get the big bird (i.e. the goose). To be 
hissed; to receive one's conge"; originally 
purely a theatrical expression. To-day the 
more usual phrase is "to get the bird.** 

Big-endians. In Swift's Gulliver's Travels, 
a party in the empire of Lilliput, who made it a 
matter of conscience to break their eggs at the 
big- end; they were looked on as heretics by 
the orthodox party, who broke theirs at the 
little end. The Big-endians typify the Catholics, 
and the Little-endians (q.v.} the Protestants. 

Big Gooseberry Season, The. The "silly 
season," the dead season, when newspapers are 
glad of any subject to fill their columns; 
monster gooseberries will do for such a 

Big House, an American slang term for 

Big-wig. A person in authority, a "nob." 
Of course, the term arises from the custom of 
judges, bishops, and so on, wearing large wigs. 
Bishops no longer wear them. 
Bigamy (big' a mi). Though many plots and 
stones have been worked up on the theme of 
supposed bigamous marriages, the Law is very 
plain and outspoken on the matter. If a 
spouse has not been heard of for seven years 
or more before a second marriage, the prosecu- 
tion has to prove that the prisoner had g9od 
cause to believe that the real spouse was alive; 
if he or she is able to convince the Court that 
there was every reason to believe the missing 
spouse dead, even though seven years had not 
elapsed since the last communication, the 
prisoner is entitled to a verdict of Not Guilty. 
The maximum punishment is seven years' 
penal servitude. 

Bigaroon (big a roon 7 ). A white-heart cherry. 
(Fr. bigarreaity variegated; Lat. bis varellus, 
double-varied, red and white mixed.) 
Bight (bit). To hook the bight i.e. to get 
entangled. A nautical phrase; the bight is 
the bend or doubled part of a rope, and when 
the fluke of one anchor gets into the "bight" 
of another's cable it is "hooked." 
Bilbo (bil'bo). A rapier or sword. So 
called from Bilbao, in Spain, once famous for 
its finely tempered blades. Falstaff says to 

I suffered the pangs of three several deaths; first, 
an intolerable fright, to be detected . . . next, to 
be compassed, like a good bilbo . . . hilt to point, 
heel to head; and then , . . Merry Wives, ni, 5. 

Bilboes. A bar of iron with fetters annexed 
to it, by which mutinous sailors or prisoners 
were linked together. The word is probably 
derived, as the preceding, from Bilbao, in 
Spain, where they may have been first made. 
Some of the bilboes taken from the Spanish 
Armada are still kept in the Tower of London. 
Now a man that is marry'd, has as it were, d'ye 
see, his feet in the bilboes, and mayhap mayn't get 
'em out again when he would. CONGREVE: Love 
for Love, iii, 6. 

Bile. It rouses my bile. It makes me angry 
or indignant. In Latin, biliosus (a bilious man) 
meant a choleric one. According to the 
ancient theory, bile is one of the humours of 
the body, black bile is indicative of melan- 
choly, and when excited abnormally bile was 
supposed to produce choler or rage. 
It raised my bile 

To see him so reflect their grief aside, 
HOOD: Plea of Midsummer Fairies, stanza 54. 
Bilge-water. Stale dregs; bad beer; any 
nauseating drink. Slang from the sea; the 
bilge is the lowest part of a ship, and, as the 
rain or sea-water which trickles down to this 
part is hard to get at, it is apt to become foul 
and very offensive. 

In slang bilge is any worthless or sickly 
sentimental stuff. 




Bilk. Originally a word used in cribbage, 
meaning to spoil your adversary's score, to 
balk him; perhaps the two words are mere 

The usual meaning now ^ is to cheat, to 
obtain goods and decamp without paying for 
them ; especially to give a cabman less than his 
fare, and, when remonstrated with, give a false 
name and address. 

Bill. The nose, also called the beak. Hence, 
*'BilIy" is slang for a pocket-handkerchief. 
Lastly came Winter, clothed all in frize, 

Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill; 
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze; 
And the dull drops that from his purpled bill, 
As from a limbeck did adown distill. 

SPENSER. Faerie Queene, VII, vii, 31. 

BUI, A. The draft of an Act of Parliament. 
When a Bill is passed and has received the 
royal sanction it becomes an Act. 

A public bill is the draft of an Act affecting 
the general public. 

A private bill is the draft of an Act for the 
granting of something to a company, corpora- 
tion, or certain individuals. 

A true bill. Under the old judicial system 
before a case went to the criminal Assizes it 
was examined by the Grand Jury whose duty 
it was to decide whether or not there was 
sufficient evidence to justify a trial. If they 
decided that there was they were said "to find 
a true bill"; if, on the other hand, they decided 
there was not sufficient evidence they were said 
"to ignore the bill." Hence to find a true bill 
is a colloquial way of saying that after proper 
examination one can assert that such and such 
a thing is true. 

Bill of Attainder. A legislative Act, 
introduced and passed exactly like any other 
Bill, declaring a person or pers9ns attainted. 
It was originally used only against offenders 
who fled from justice, but was soon perverted 
to the destruction of political opponents, etc. 
The last Bill of Attainder m England was that 
passed in 1697 for the attainting and execution 
of Sir John Fenwick for participation in the 
Assassination plot. 

Bill of exchange. An order transferring a 
named sum of money at a given date from the 
debtor ("drawee") to the creditor ("drawer"). 
The drawee having signed the bill becomes the 
"acceptor," and the document is then 
negotiable in commercial circles just as is 
money itself. 

We discovered, many of us for the first time, that 
the machinery of commerce was moved by bills of 
exchange. I have some of them wretched, crinkled, 
scrawled over, blotched, frowsy and yet these 
wretched little scraps of paper moved great ships, 
laden with thousands of tons of precious cargo, 
from one end of the world to the other. What was 
the motive power behind them? The honour of 
commercial men. LLOYD GEORGE: Speech to 
London Welshmen, Sept. 19th, 1914. 

Bill of fare. A list of the dishes provided, 
or which may be ordered, at a restaurant, etc.; 
a menu. 

Bill of health. A document, duly signed by 
the proper authorities, to certify that when the 
ship set sail no infectious disorder existed in 

the place. This is a clean bill of health, and 
the term is frequently used figuratively. 

A foul bill of health is a document to show 
that the place was suffering from some infec- 
tion when the ship set sail. If a captain 
cannot show a clean bill, he is supposed to 
have a foul one. 

Bill of lading. A document signed by the 
master of a ship in acknowledgment of goods 
laden m his vessel. In this document he binds 
himself to deliver the articles in good condition 
to the persons named in the bill, certain 
exceptions being duly provided for. These 
bills are generally in triplicate one for the 
sender, one for the receiver, and one for the 
master of the vessel. 

Bill of Pains and Penalties. A legislative 
Act imposing punishment (less than capital) 
upon a person charged with treason or other 
high crimes. It is like a Bill of Attainder (q. v.), 
differing from it in that the punishment is never 
capital and the children are not affected. 

Bill of quantities. An abstract of the prob- 
able cost of a building, etc. 

Bill of Rights. The declaration delivered to 
the Prince of Orange (William III) on his 
election to the British throne, and accepted by 
him, confirming the rights and privileges of 
the people. (Feb. 13th, 1689.) 

Bill of sale. When a person borrows money 
and delivers goods as security, he gives the 
lender a " bill of sale," that is, permission to 
sell the goods if the money is not returned on 
a stated day. 

Bills of Mortality. In 1592, wben a great 
pestilence broke out, the Company of Parish 
Clerks, representing 109 parishes in and around 
London, began to publish weekly returns of 
all deaths occurring; these later included births 
or baptisms, but continued to be known as 
"bills of mortality." The term is now used 
for those abstracts from parish registers which 
show the births, deaths, and baptisms of the 

Within the Bills of Mortality means within 
the district covered by the 109 parishes men- 
tioned above. 

Bills payable.. Bills of exchange, promissory 
notes, or other documents promising to pay a 
sum of money. 

Bills receivable. Promissory notes, bills 
of exchange, or other acceptances^held by a 
person to whom the money stated is payable. 

Billabong (Austr.). A dried-up water Course, 
from billa, a creek, and bong, to die. 

Billings, Josh. The nom de plume of Henry 
Wheeler Shaw (1818-85), an American 
humorist. For many years he published an 
annual known as Josh Billing^ Farmers" 

Billingsgate. The site of an old passage 
through that part of the city wall that protected 
London on the river side: so called from the 
Billings, who were the royal race of the Varini, 
an ancient tribe mentioned by Tacitus. 
Billingsgate has been the site of a fish-market 




for many centuries, and its porters, etc., were 
famous for their foul and abusive language at 
least three hundred years ago. 

Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate. 

DRYDEN Art of Poetry, c, 1. 
To talk Billingsgate. To slang; to use foul, 
abusive language; to scold in a vulgar, coarse 

You are no better than a Billingsgate fish-fag. 
You are as rude and ill-mannered as the women 
of Billingsgate fish-market. 

Billingsgate pheasant. A red herring; a 

Billy, A policeman's staff, which is a little 
bill or billet. 

A pocket-handkerchief (see BILL). "A 
blue billy "* is a handkerchief with blue ground 
and white spots. 

The tin in which originally Australian 
station-hands made tea and did most of their 
cooking. The word probably comes from 
billa, a creek hence water. 

Billy Barlow. A street droll, a merry- 
andrew; so called from a half-idiot of the 
name,, who fancied himself some great person- 
age. He was well known in the East of Lon- 
don in the early half of last century, and 
died in Whitechapel workhouse. Some of his 
sayings were really witty, and some of his 
attitudes really droll. 
Billy and Charlie. See FORGERIES 
Billy boy. A bluff-bowed, North Country 
coasting vessel of river-barge build. 

Billy goat. A male goat. From this came 
the term once common for a tufted beard a 
"billy" or goatee. 

Billycock Hat (bil'ikok). A round, low- 
crowned, soft felt hat with a wide brim. One 
account says that the name is the same as 
"bully-cocked," that is, cocked in the manner 
of a bully, or swell, a term which was applied 
to a hat in the description of an Oxford dandy 
in Amherst's Terra Films (1721). Another 
account says that it was first used by Billy 
Coke (Mr. William Coke) at the great shoot- 
ing parties at Holkham about 1850; and old- 
established hatters in the West End still call 
them " Coke hats." 

Bi-metaUism (bi met' a lizm). The employ- 
ment for coinage of two metals, silver and gold, 
which would be of fixed relative value. 
Binary Arithmetic (bl'nari). Arithmetic in 
which the base of the notation is 2 instead of 
10, a method suggested for certain uses by 
Leibnitz. The unit followed by a cipher 
signifies two, by another unit it signifies three, 
by two ciphers it signifies four, and so on. 
Thus, 10 signifies 2, 100 signifies 4; while 11 
signifies 3. etc. 

Binary Theory. A theory which supposes 
that all acids are a compound of hydrogen with 
a simple or compound radicle, and all salts are 
similar compounds in which a metal takes the 
place of hydrogen. 

Bingham's Dandies. The 17th Lancers; so 
called from their colonel, the Earl of Lucan, 
formerly L9rd Bingham. The uniform was 
noted for its admirable fit and smartness. 
Now called "The Duke of Cambridge's Own 

Binnacle (bin' akl). The case of the mariner's 
compass, which used to be written bittacle, 
a corruption of the Span, bitacula, from Lat. 
habitaculum, an abode. 

Birchin Lane. I must send you to Birchin 
Lane, i.e. whip you. The play is on birch (a 

A suit in Birchin Lane. Birchin Lane was 
once famous for all sorts of apparel; references 
to second-hand clothes m Birchin Lane are 
common enough in Elizabethan books. 

Passing through Birchin Lane amidst a camp-royal 
of hose and doublets, I took . . . occasion to slip 
into a captain's suit a valiant buff doublet stuffed 
with points and a pair of velvet slops scored thick 
with lace. MIDDLETON: Black Book (1604). 

Bird. This is the Middle English and Anglo- 
Saxon brid (occasionally byrde in M.E.), 
which meant only the young of feathered 
flying animals, foul, foule, or fowel being the 
M.E. corresponding to the modern bird. 
An endearing name for a girl. 

And by my word, your bonnie bird 

In danger shall not tarry; 
So, though the waves are raging white, 
I'll row you o'er the ferry 

CAMPBELL: Lord Ullirfs Daughter. 

This use of the word is connected with 
bwd (?.v.), a poetic word for a maiden (cf. 
Bride) which, has long been obsolete, except 
in ballads. In modern slang ** bird " has by 
no means the same significance as it is a rather 
contemptuous term for a young woman. 

Bird is also a familiar term for the shuttle- 
cock used in Badminton. 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush ; a 
pound in the purse is worth two in the book. 

Possession is better than expectation. 

It is found in several languages: 

Italian: E meglio aver oggi un uovo, che 
domani una gallina. 

French: Un, Tiens vaut, ce dit-on, mieux 
que deux Tu 1'auras. 

L'un est sur, Fautre ne Fest pas. 

La Fontaine, v, in". 

German : Ein vogel in der hand ist besser als 
zehn iiber land. 

Besser ein spatz in der hand, als ein storch 
auf dean dache. 

Latin : Certa amittimus dum incerta petimus 

On the other side we have "Qui ne s'aven- 
ture, n'a ni cheval ni mule." "Nothing 
venture, nothing gain." "Use a sprat to 
catch a mackerel." " Chi non s'arnschia non 

A bird of ill-omen. A person who is regarded 
as unlucky; one who is in the habit of bringing 
ill news. The phrase dates from the time of 
augury (g.v.) in Greece and Rome, and even 
to-day many look upon owls, crows, and 
ravens as unlucky birds, swallows and storks 
as lucky ones. 

Ravens, by their acute sense of smell, can 
locate dead and decaying bodies at a great 
distance; hence, perhaps, they indicate death. 
Owls screech when bad weather is at hand, 
and as foul weather often precedes sickness, 
so the owl is looked on as a funeral bird. 




A bird of passage. A person who shifts from 
place to place; a temporary visitant, like a 
cuckoo, the swallow, starling, etc. 

A little bird told me so. From Eccles. x, 20; 
"Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, 
... for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, 
and that which hath wings shall tell the 

Birds of a feather flock together. Persons 
associate with those of a similar taste and 
station as themselves. Hence, of that feather > 
of that sort. 

I am not of that feather to shake off 
My friend, when he must need me, 

SHAKESPEARE: Timon of Athens, i, 1. 
Fine feathers make fine birds. See FEATHER. 

Old birds are not to be caught with chaff. 

Experience teaches wisdom. 

One beats the bush, another takes the bird. 

The workman does the work, master makes the 
money. See BEAT. 

The Arabian bird. The phoenix (<?.v.). 

The bird of Juno. The peacock. Minerva's 
bird is either the cock or the owl; that of Venus 
is the dove. 

The bird of Washington. The American 
or bald-headed eagle. 

The well-known bald-headed eagle, sometimes 
called the Bird of Washington. WOOD. 

Thou has kept well the bird in thy bosom. 

Thou hast remained faithful to thy allegiance 
or faith. The expression was used of Sir 
Ralph Percy (slain in the battle of Hedgeley 
Moor in 1464) to express his having preserved 
unstained his fidelity to the House of Lan- 

'Tis the early bird that catches the worm. 
It's the energetic man who never misses an 
opportunity who succeeds. 

To get the bird. To be hissed; to meet with 
a hostile reception. See BIG BIRD. 

To kill two birds with one stone. To effect 
two objects with one outlay of trouble. 

Birdie. A hole at golf which the player has 
completed in one stroke less than par (the 
official figure). Two strokes less is an eagle* 


Choughs were protected in Cornwall, 
because the soul of King Arthur was fabled to 
have migrated into a chough. 

The Hawk was held sacred by the Egyptians, 
because it was the form assumed by Ra or 
Horus; and the Ibis because it was said that 
the god Thoth escaped from the pursuit of 
Typhon disguised as an Ibis. 

Mother Carey's Chickens, or Storm Petrels, 
are protected by sailors, from a superstition 
that they are the living forms of the souls of 
deceased sailors. 

TTie Robin is protected, both on account of 
Christian tradition and nursery legend. See 

The Stork is a sacred bird in Sweden, from 
the legend that it flew round the cross, crying 
Styrka, Styrka, when Jesus was crucified. 

Swans are superstitiously protected in 
Ireland from the legend of the Fionnuala 
(daughter of Lir), who was metamorphosed 
into a swan and condemned to wander in lakes 
and rivers till Christianity was introduced. 
Moore wrote a poem on the subject. 

Birdcage Walk (St. James's Park, London); 
so called from an aviary that used to be there 
for the amusement of Charles II. 

Birler. In Cumberland, a birler is the master 
of the revels at a bidden-weddmg, who is to 
see that the guests are well furnished with 
drink. To birl is to carouse or pour out 
liquor (A.S. byreliari), 

Birmingham Poet. John Freeth, who died at 
the age of seventy-eight in 1808. He was wit, 
poet, and publican, who not only wrote the 
words and tunes of songs, but sang them also, 
and sang them well. 

Birnam Wood (ber' nam). Birnam is a hill in 
Perthshire, 11 miles north-west of Perth, and 
formerly part of the royal forest known as 
Birnam Wood. 

Birthday Suit. He was in his birthday suit. 

Quite nude, as when born. 

Birthstones. See PRECIOUS STONES. 

Bis (Lat., twice). French and Italian audi- 
ences at theatres, concerts, etc., use this word 
as English audiences use "Encore." 

Bis dat, qui cito dat (he gives twice who gives 
promptly) i.e. prompt relief will do as much 
good as twice the sum at a future period 
(Publius Syrus Proverbs). 

Biscuit. The French form of the Lat. bis 
coctum* i.e. twice baked. In English it was 
formerly spelt as pronounced bisket the 
irrational adoption of the foreign spelling 
without the foreign pronunciation is com- 
paratively modern. 

In pottery, earthenware or porcelain, after 
it has been hardened in the fire, but has not 
yet been glazed, is so called. Porcelain groups 
so prepared at Sevres, and neither coloured nor 
glazed, were made fashionable in the 1750s 
by Mme de Pompadour, who had a great 
liking for them. 

Bise (bez). A keen dry wind from the north, 
sometimes with a bit of east in it, that is 
prevalent in Switzerland and the neighbouring 

The Bise blew cold. 
ROGERS: Italy, pt. 1, div. ii, stanza 4. 

Bishop (A.S. biscop, from Lat. episcopus, and 
Gr. episkopos, an inspector or overseer). One 
of the higher order of the Christian priesthood 
who presides over a diocese (either actually or 
formally) and has the power of ordaining and 
confirming in addition to the rights and duties 
of the inferior clergy. 

The name is given to one of the men in chess 
(formerly called the "archer "), to the lady- 
bird (see BISHOP BARNABEE below) > and to a 
drink made by pouring red wine (such as 
claret or burgundy), either hot or cold, on 
ripe bitter oranges, the liquor being sugared 
and spiced to taste. Similar drinks are 
Cardinal, which is made by using white wine 



Bitter End 

instead of red, and Pope, which is made by 
using tokay. 
See also BOY BISHOP. 

The bishop hath put his foot in it. Said of 
milk or porridge that is burnt, or of meat over- 
roasted. Tyndale says, "If the porage be 
burned to, or the meate ouer rosted, we saye 
the byshorje hath put his fote in the potte," 
and explains it thus, "because the bishopes 
burn who they lust." Such food is also said 
to be blshoppcd. 

To bishop. There are two verbs, "to 
bishop, ** both from proper names. One is 
obsolete and meant to murder by drowning: 
it is from a man of this name who, in 1831, 
drowned a little boy in Bethnal Green and 
sold his body to the surgeons for dissection. 
The other is slang, and means to conceal a 
horse's age by "faking" his teeth. 

Bishop Barker. An Australian term used 
around Sydney for the largest glass of beer 
available, named from Frederick Barker 
(1808-82), Bishop of Sydney (consecrated 
1854) who was a very tall man. 

Bishop Barnabee. The May-bug, ladybird, 
There is an old Sussex rhyme' 

Bishop, Bishop Bamabee, 

Tell me when my wedding shall be; 

If it be to-morrow day, 

Ope your wings and fly away. 

Bishop in Partibus. See IN PARTIBUS. 

The Bishop's Bible. See BIBLE, THE 

Bissextile (bi seks' til). Leap-year (g.v.). We 
add a day to February in leap-year, but the 
Romans counted February 24th twice. Now, 
February 24th was called by them "dies 
bissextits 9 * (sexto calendas Manias), the 
sextile or sixth day before March 1st; and this 
day being reckoned twice (bis) m leap-year, 
which was called ""minus bissextus" 

Bisson (bis' 6n). Shakespeare (Hamlet, ii, 2) 
speaks of bisson rheum (blinding tears), and in 
Corlolanus ii, 1 T **What harm can your bisson 
conspectuities glean out of this character?'* 
This is the M.E. bisen and O.E. bisene, pur- 
blind. The ultimate origin of the word is 
unknown, but there was an A.S. sten, P9wer of 
seeing ? and it may be from this with the 
privative prefix be-, as in behead. 

Bistonians (bis to' ni anz). The Thracians; 

so called from Biston, son of Mars, who built 

Bistonia on the Lake Bistonis. 

So the Bistonian race, a maddening train, 
Exult and revel on the Thracian plain; 
With milk their bloody banquets they allay, 
Or from the lion rend his panting prey; 
On some abandoned savage fiercely fly, 
Seize, tear, devour, and think it luxury. 

PITT: Statius, bk. ii. 

Bit A piece, a morsel. Really the same 
word as bite (A.S. bitari), meaning a piece 
bitten off, hence a piece generally; it is the 
substantive of bite, as morsel (Fr. morceau) is 
of mordre. 

Also used for a piece of money, as a 
"threepenny-bit," a "two-shilling bit," etc. 

Bit is old thieves' slang for money generally, 
and a coiner is known as a * 'bit-maker "; but 

in Spanish North America and the^West Indies 
it was the name of a small silver coin represent- 
ing a portion, or "bit," of the dollar. In 
U.S.A. a "bit" is 12 cents, half a quarter. 

In the 1920s bit was a contemptuous phrase 
for someone's girl, short for "bit of fluff." 

Bit (of a horse). To take the bit in (or be- 
tween) one's teeth. To be obstinately self- 
willed; to make up one's mind not to yield. 
When a horse has a mind to run away, he 
catches the bit "between his teeth," and the 
driver has no longer control over him. 

Bite. A cheat; one who bites us. "The 
biter bit" explains the origin. We say " a 
man was bitten" when he "burns his ringers" 
meddling with something which promised well 
but turned out a failure. Thus, Pope says, 
"The rogue was bit," he intended to cheat, 
but was himself taken in. "The biter bit" 
is the moral of ^sop's fable called The Viper 
and the File; and Goldsmith's mad dog, which, 
"for some private ends, went mad and bit 
a man," but the biter was bit, for "The man 
recovered of the bite, the dog it was that 

Bites and Bams. Hoaxes and quizzes; 

[His] humble efforts at jocularity were chiefly 
confined to ... bites and bams. SCOTT: Guy 
Mannering, ch. 3. 

To bite one's thumb at another. To insult or 
defy a man by putting the thumbnail into the 
mouth and clicking it against the teeth. It is 
difficult to see why this should have such 
provocative significance, 

Gregory: I will frown as I pass by; and let them 
take it as they list. 

Sampson: Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb 
at them: which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. 
SHAKESPEARE: Romeo and Juliet, i, 1. 

To bite the dust, or the ground. To be 
struck from one's horse, hence to be slain. 
The phrase "Another Redskin bit the dust" 
was used in R.A.F. circles, 1939-45, to indicate 
that an exploit just recounted was considered 
a "line" (<?.v.); it originates from the fabulous 
Western Stones of Buffalo Bill and other heroes 
who slew incredible numbers of Red Indians 
and always survived. 

To bite the lip, indicative of suppressed 
chagrin, passion, or annoyance. 

She had to bite her lips till the blood came in 
order to keep down the angry words that would rise 
in her heart. Mrs. GASKELL: Mary Barton, ch, xi. 

To bite upon the bridle. To champ the bit, 
like an impatient or restless horse. 

Bitt. To bitt the cable is to fasten it round 
the "bitt" or frame made for the purpose, 
and placed in the fore part of the vessel. 

Bitter End, The. A entrance; with relentless 
hostility; also applied to affliction, as, "she 
bore it to the bitter end," meaning to the last 
stroke of adverse fortune. "Bitter end" in 
this phrase is a sea term meaning the end of a 
rope, or that part of the cable which is "abaft 
the bitts." When there is no windlass the 
cables are fastened to bitts, that is, wooden 
posts fixed in pairs on the deck; and when a 
rope is payed put until all of it is let out and 
no more remains, the end at the bitts hence 



Black cap 

the bitter end, as opposed to the other end is 
reached. In Captain Smith's Seaman's Gram- 
mar (1627) we read: 

A Bitter is but the turne of a Cable about the Bits, 
and veare it out by little and little. And the Bitters 
end, is that part of the Cable doth stay within boord. 

However, we read in Prov. v, 4, "Her end 
is bitter as wormwood," which may share the 
origin of the modern use of this phrase. 

Bittock* A little bit; -ock as a diminutive is 
preserved in bull-ock, hill-ock, butt-ock, etc. 
*'A mile and a bittock" is a mile and a little 

Black for mourning was a Roman custom 
(Juvenal, x, 245) borrowed from the Egyptians. 
Mutes at funerals who wore black cloaks, 
were sometimes known as the blacks, and 
sometimes as the Black Guards. Cp. BLACK- 

I do pray ye 

To give me leave to live a little longer. 
You stand about me like my Blacks. 
BEAUMONT and FLETCHER' Monsieur Thomas, iii, 1. 

In several of the Oriental nations it is a 
badge of servitude, slavery, and low birth. 
Our word blackguard (q.v.) seems to point to 
this meaning, and the Lat. niger, black, also 
meant bad., unpropitious. See under COLOURS 
for its symbolism, etc. 

Black as a crow, etc. Among the many 
common similes used in connexion with 
"black" fare black 'as a crow, a raven, a 
raven's wing, ink, hell, hades, death, the grave, 
your hat, a thundercloud, Egypt's night, a 
Newgate knocker (#.v.), ebony, a wolfs mouth, 
a coal-pit, coal, pitch, soot, etc. Most of these 
are self-explanatory, 

Beaten black and blue. So that the skin is 
black and blue with the marks of the beating. 

Black in the face. Extremely angry. The 
face is discoloured with passion or distress. 

Mr. Winkle pulled . . . till he was black in the 
face. DICKENS: Pickwick Papers. 

He swore himself black in the face. Peter Pindar 

I must have it in black and white, i.e. in plain 
writing; the paper being white and the ink 

O, he has basted me rarely, sumptuously! but I 
have it here in black and white [pulls out the warrant], 
for his black and blue shall pay him. 

JONSON: Every Man in His Humour, iv, 2. 

To say black's his eye, i.e. to vituperate, to 
blame. The expression, Black's the white of 
his eye, is a modern variation. To say the eye 
is black or evil, is to accuse a person of an evil 
heart or great ignorance. 

I can say black's your eye though it be grey. I 
have connived at this, BEAUMONT and FLETCHER: 
Love's Cure, ii, 1. 

To swear black is white. To swear to any 
falsehood no matter how patent it is. 

Black and Tans. Members of the irregular 
force enlisted in 1920 for service in Ireland as 
auxiliaries to the Royal Irish Constabulary. 
So called because their original uniform was 
the army khaki with the black leather accoutre- 
ments of the R.LC, 

Black Act. An Act passed in 1722 (9 Geo. 
I, c. 22) imposing the death penalty for certain 
offences against the Game Laws, and specially 

directed against the Waltham deer-stealers, 
who blackened their faces and, under the 
name of Blacks, committed depredations in 
Epping Forest. This Act was repealed in 

Black Arl. The art practised by conjurors, 
wizards, and others who professed to have 
dealings with the devil; so called from the idea 
that necromancy (<?.v.) was connected with the 
Lat. niger, black. 

WT deils, they say, L d safe's! colleaguin' 

At some black art. 

BURNS: On Grose's Peregrinations. 

Black Assize. July 6th, 1 577, when a putrid 
pestilence broke out at Oxford during the time 
of assize. The chief baron, the sheriff, and a 
large number of the Oxford gentry (some 
accounts say 300) died. 

Blackamoor. Washing the blackamoor white 

i.e. engaged upon a hopeless and useless task. 
The allusion is to one of ^sop*s fables so 

Black-balled. Not admitted to a club, 
or suchlike; the candidate proposed is not 
accepted as a member. In voting by ballot, 
those who accepted the person proposed used 
to drop a white or red ball into the box, but 
those who would exclude the candidate dropped 
into it a black one. 

Blackbeetles. See MISNOMERS. 

Blackbirds. Slang for Negro slaves or 
indentured labourers. Hence blackbirding, 
capturing or trafficking in slaves. Cp. BLACK 

Black books. To be in my black books. In 
bad odour; in disgrace; out of favour. A 
black book is a book recording the names of 
those who are in disgrace or have merited 
punishment. Amherst, in his Terrce Filius^ or 
the Secret History of the Universities of Oxford 
(1726), speaks of the Proctor's black book, 
and tells us that no one can proceed to a degree 
whose name is found there. 

Black Book of the Admiralty. An old navy 
code, said to have been compiled in the reign 
of Edward III. 

Black Book of the Exchequer. An official 
account of the royal revenues, payments, 
perquisites, etc., in the reign of Henry II. 
Its cover was black leather. There are two of 
them preserved in the Public Record Office. 

Black Brunswickers. A corps of 700 
volunteer hussars under the command of 
Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick, who 
had been forbidden by Napoleon to succeed 
to his father's dukedom. They were called 
"Black" because they wore mourning for the 
deceased Duke. Frederick William fell at 
Quatre-Bas, 1815. 

Black cap. A small square of black cloth. 
This is worn by a judge when he passes 
sentence of death on a prisoner; it is part 
of the judge's full dress, and is also worn 
on 'November 9th, when the new Lord 
Mayor takes the oath at the Law Courts. 
Covering the head was a sign of mourning 
among the Israelites, Greeks, Romans, and 
Anglo-Saxons. Cp. 2 Sam. xv, 30. $ 

Black Cattle 


Black jack 

Black Cattle. Negro slaves. 
BIRDS, and see BLACK Ox. 

Black Country, The. The crowded manu- 
facturing district of the Midlands of which 
Birmingham is the centre. It includes 
Wolverhampton, Walsall, Redditch, etc,, and 
has been blackened by its many coal and iron 
mines, and smoking factory shafts. 

Black Death. A plague which ravaged 
Europe in 1348-51; it was a putrid typhus, in 
which the body rapidly turned black. It 
reached England in 1349, and is said to have 
carried off twenty-five millions (one fourth of 
the population) in Europe alone, while in 
Asia and Africa the mortality was even greater. 

Black Diamonds. Coals Coals and dia- 
monds are both forms of carbon. 

Black Dog. See DOG. 

A common name in the early 18th century 
for counterfeit silver coin. It was made of 
pewter double washed. "Black," as applied 
to bad money, was even then an old term. 

To blush like a black dog. See DOG. 

Black Doll. The sign of a marine store 
shop. The doll was a dummy dressed to 
indicate that cast-off garments were bought. 

Black Douglas. See DOUGLAS. 

Blackfellows. The name given to the 
aborigines of Australia. Their complexion is 
not really black, but a dark coffee colour. 

The pirate's flag; the "Jolly 

Black Flag. 

Pirates of the Chinese Sea who opposed the 
French in Tonquin were known as "the Black 
Flags," as also were the troops of the Caliph 
of Bagdad because his banner that of the 
Abbasides was black, while that of the 
Fatimites was green and the Ommiades white. 
It is said that the black curtain which hung 
before the door of Ayeshah, Mohammed's 
favourite wife, was taken for a national flag, 
and is still regarded by Mussulmans as the 
most precious of relics. It is never unfolded 
except as a declaration of war. 

A black flag is run up over a prison im- 
mediately after an execution has taken place 
within its walls. 

Blackfoot A Scottish term for a match- 
maker, or an intermediary in love affairs; if he 
chanced to play the traitor he was called a 

In the first half of the 19th century the name 
was given to one of the Irish agrarian secret 
And the Blackfoot who courted each foeman's 


Faith! *tis hot-foot he'd fly from the stout Father 


Blackfeet. The popular name of two North 
American Indian tribes, one an Algonquin 
nation calling themselves the Siksika, and 
coming originally from the Upper Missouri 
district, the other, the Sihasapa, 

Black Friars. The Dominican friars; so 
called from their black cloaks. The district of 

Cp. BLACK- this name in the City of London is the site of 
a large monastery of Dominicans who used to 
possess rights of sanctuary, etc. 

Black Friday. December 6th, 1745, the 
day on which the news arrived in London that 
the Pretender had reached Derby; also May 
10th, 1886, when widespread panic was caused 
by Overend, Gurney and Co., the brokers, 
suspending payment. 

Black Game. Heath-fowl; in contra-dis- 
tinction to red game, as grouse. The male 
bird is called a blackcock. 

Black Genevan. A black preaching gown, 
formerly used in many Anglican churches, and 
still used by Nonconformists. So called from 
Geneva, where Calvin preached in such a robe. 
Blackguards. The origin of this term, 
which for many years has been applied to low 
and t worthless characters generally, and 
especially to roughs of the criminal classes, is 
not certainly known. It may be from the 
link-boys and torch-bearers at funerals, who 
were called by this name, or from the scullions 
and kitchen-knaves of the royal household 
who, during progresses, etc., had charge of the 
pots and pans and accompanied the wagons 
containing these, or from an actual body, or 
guard, of soldiers wearing a black uniform. 
The following extract from a proclamation of 
May 7th, 1683, in the Lord Steward's office 
would seem to bear out the second sug- 

Whereas ... a sort of vicious, idle, and master- 
less boyes and rogues, commonly called the Black 
guard, with divers other lewd and loose fellows . . 
do usually haunt and follow the court. . . . Wee do 
hereby strictly charge ... all those so called, *>. . 
with all other loose, idle . . . men . . . who nave 
intruded themselves into his Majesty's court and 
stables ... to depart upon pain of imprisonment. 

Black Hand. A lawless secret society, 
formerly active in the U.S.A.; most of the 
members were Italians. 

Black Hole of Calcutta. A dark cell in a 
prison into which Suraja Dawlah thrust 146 
British prisoners on June 20th, 1756. Next 
morning only twenty-three were found alive. 

The punishment cell or lock-up in barracks 
is frequently called the "black hole." 

Black Horse. The 7th Dragoon Guards, or 
'the Princess Royal's Dragoon Guards " 
Their "facings" are black. Also called 
Strawboots," "The Blacks." 
Black jack. A large leather gotch, or can, 
lor beer and ale, so called from the outside 
being tarred. 
He hath not pledged one cup, but looked most 


Upon good Malaga; flies to the black-jack still, 
And sticks to small drink like a water-rat. 

MIDDLETON: The Witch, i, 1. 
Fill, fill the goblet full with sack! 
I mean our tall black-jerkin Jack. 
Whose hide is proof 'gainst rabble Rout 
And will keep all ill weather out. 

ROBT. HEATH: Song in a Siege (1650). 
In Cornwall the miners call blende or 
sulphide of zinc "Black Jack," the occurrence 
of which is considered by them a favourable 
indication. Hence the saying, Black Jack 



Black Rood 

rides a good horse, the blende rides upon a lode 
of good ore. 

A blackjack is a small club weighted at the 
end, much used by gangsters for knocking 
people unconscious. 

Blacklead. See MISNOMERS. 

Black-leg. An old name for a swindler, 
especially in cards and races; now used almost 
solely for a non-union workman, one who 
works for less than trade-union wages, or one 
who continues to work during a strike. 

Black letter. The Gothic or German type 
which, in the early days of printing, was the 
type in commonest use. The term came into 
use about 1600, because of its heavy, black 
appearance in comparison with roman type. 

Black letter day. An unlucky day; one to 
be recalled with regret. m The Romans marked 
their unlucky days with a piece of black 
charcoal, and their lucky ones with white 
chalk, but the allusion here is to the old 
liturgical calendars in which the saints' days 
and festivals are distinguished by being printed 
in red. 

Black list. A list of persons in disgrace, or 
who have incurred censure or punishment; a 
list of bankrupts for the private guidance of 
the mercantile community. See BLACK BOOKS. 

Blackmail (blak' mal). "Mail" here is the 
Old English and Scottish word meaning rent, 
tax, or tribute. In Scotland mails and duties 
are rents of an estate 9 in money or otherwise. 
Blackmail was originally a tribute paid by the 
Border farmers to freebooters in return for 
protection or for immunity from molestation. 
Hence the modern signification any pay- 
ment extorted by intimidation or pressure. 

Black Maria. The van which conveys 
prisoners from the police courts to jail. There 
is an unsupported tradition that the term 
originated in America. Maria Lee, a negress 
of great size and strength, kept a sailors' 
boarding house in Boston, and when constables 
required help it was a common thing to send 
for "Black Maria," who soon collared the 
refractory and led them to the lock-up. 

During World War I Black Maria was one 
of the names given to large enemy shells that 
emitted dense smoke on bursting. 

Black market. A phrase that came into use 
during World War II, to describe illicit dealing 
in rationed goods. 

Black Mass. This is the name given to the 
sacrilegious mass said by diabolists in which 
the Devil was invoked in place of God and 
various obscene rites performed in ridicule of 
the proper ceremony. 

Black Monday. Easter Monday, April 
14th, 1360, was so called. Edward III was 
with his army lying before Paris, and the day 
was so dark, with mist and hail, so bitterly 
cold and so windy, that many of his horses and 
men died. Monday after Easter holidays is 
called "Black Monday," in allusion to this 
fatal day. Launcelot says: 

It was not for nothing that my nose fell a-bleeding 
on Black Monday last, at six o'clock i' the morning. 
SHAKESPEARE: Merchant of Venice, ii, 5. 

February 27th, 1865, was so called in 

Melbourne from a terrible sirocco from the 
NNW., which produced dreadful havoc 
between Sandhurst and Castlemain. School- 
boys give the name to the first Monday 
after the holidays are over, when lessons begin 

Black money. See BLACK DOG above. 

Black Monks. The Benedictines (#.v,). 

Black-out. From the day war was declared 
against Germany (Sept. 3, 1939) to the day 
hostilities ceased (May 8, 1945) it was obliga- 
tory throughout Great Britain to shield 
windows at night so that no slightest gleam 
of light should be visible from without. By 
this means enemy raiding aircraft were 
deprived of the help of landmarks and were 
literally left in the dark as to where there were 
towns or villages. 

Black ox. The black ox has trod on his 
foot i.e. misfortune has come to him. Black 
oxen were sacrificed to Pluto and other 
infernal deities. 

Black Parliament. This is the name often 
given to the Parliament that was opened in 
Nov., 1529, for the purpose of furthering 
Henry VIII's seizing and consolidating his 
thefts of Church property. During the six 
and a half years of its existence it carried out 
the king's arbitrary orders with a servility no 
parliament has shown before or since. 

Black Pope. See POPE. 

Black Prince. Edward, Prince of Wales 
(1330-76), eldest son of Edward III. Froissart 
says he was "styled black by terror of his 
arms" (c. 169). Strutt confirms this saying: 
"for his martial deeds surnamed Black tne 
Prince" (Antiquities). Meyrick says there is 
not the slightest proof that he ever wore 
black armour, and, indeed, there is indirect 
proof against the supposition. Thus, there 
was a picture on the wall of St. Stephen's 
Chapel, Westminster, in which the prince was 
clad in gilt armour; Stothard says "the effigy 
is of copper gilt'*; and in the British Museum 
is an illumination of Edward III granting to 
his son the duchy of Aquitaine, in which both 
figures are represented in silver armour with 
gilt joints. The first mention of the term 
"Black Prince'* occurs in a parliamentary 
paper of the second year of Richard II; so 
that Shakespeare has good reason for the use 
of the word in his tragedy of that king: 
Brave Gaunt, thy father and myself 
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men, 
From forth the ranks of many thousand French. 

Richard 77, ii, 3. 

That black name, Edward Black Prince of Wales. 
Henry V, u, 4. 

Black Rod. The short title of a Court 
official, who is styled fully "Gentleman Usher 
of the Black Rod," so called from his staff of 
office a black wand surmounted by a golden 
lion. He is the Chief Gentleman Usher of the 
Lord Chamberlain's Department, and also 
Usher to the House of Lords and the Chapter 
of the Garter. 

Black Rood of Scotland. The "piece of 
the true cross" or rood, set in an ebony 
crucifix, which St. Margaret, the wife of King 
Malcolm Canmore, left to the Scottish nation 

Black Russia 



at her death in 1093. It fell into the hands of 
the English at the battle of Neville's Cross 
(1346), and was deposited in St. Cuthbert's 
shrine at Durham Cathedral, but was lost at 
the Reformation. 

Black Russia. A name formerly given to 
Central and Southern Russia, from its black 

Blacks, The. The 7th Dragoon Guards. 

Black Saturday. August 4th, 1621; so 
called in Scotland, because a violent storm 
occurred at the very moment the Parliament 
was sitting to enforce episcopacy on the people. 

Black Sea, The. Formerly called the 
Euxine (#.v.), this sea probably was given its 
present name by the Turks who, accustomed 
to the jEgean with its many islands and har- 
bours, were terrified by the dangers of this 
larger stretch of water which was destitute of 
shelter and was liable to sudden and violent 
storms and thick fogs. 

Black sheep. A disgrace to the family or 
community; a mauvais sujet. Black sheep are 
looked on with dislike by some shepherds, and 
are not so valuable as white ones. Cp. BETE 


Black Shirts. The black shirt was the 
distinguishing garment worn by the Italian 
Fascists and adopted in England by their 

Blacksmith. A smith who works in black 
metal (such as iron), as distinguished from a 
whitesmith, who works in tin or other white 

Black strap. Bad port wine. A sailor's 
name for any bad liquor. In North America, 
"Black-strap" is a mixture of rum and 
molasses, sometimes vinegar is added. 
The seething blackstrap was pronounced ready for use, 
PINKERTON: Molly Magulres (1882), 

Black swan. See RARA Avis. 

Blackthorn winter. The cold weather which 
frequently occurs when the blackthorn is in 
blossom. See ICE-SAINTS. 

Black Thursday. February 6th, 1851; so 
called in Victoria, Australia, from a terrible 
bush-fire which then occurred. 

Blade Tom. The Earl of Ormonde, Lord 
Deputy of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth; 
so called from his ungracious ways and 
"black looks, 1 * 

Black velvet. A drink composed of 
champagne and Guinness stout in equal parts. 
It was the favourite drink of the Iron Chancel- 
lor, Bismarck. 

Black Watch. Originally companies em- 
ployed about 1725 by the English government 
to watch the Islands of Scotland. They 
dressed in a "black" or dark tartan. They 
were enrolled in the regular army as the 42nd 
regiment under the Earl of Crawford, in 1737. 
Their tartan is still called 'The Black Watch 
Tartan," Trie regiment is now officially "The 
Royal Highlanders," but is still called "The 
Black Watch." They are easily recognized by 
the small bunch of red feathers, known as the 

red hackle, which they wear on their bonnets 
in Heu of a regimental badge. 

Blade. A knowing blade, a sharp fellow: 
a regular blade, a buck or fop. As applied to 
a man the word originally carried the sense of 
a somewhat bullying bravado, a fierce and 
swaggering man, and he was probably named 
from the sword that he carried. 
Bladud (bla' dud). A mythical king of Eng- 
land, father of King Lear. He built the city 
of Bath, and dedicated the medicinal springs 
to Minerva. Bladud studied magic, and, 
attempting to fly, fell into the temple of Apollo 
and was dashed to pieces. (Geoffrey of 

Blanch, To. A method of testing the quality 
of money paid in taxes to the King, invented 
by Roger of Salisbury in the reign of Henry I. 
44 shillings' worth of silver com was taken at 
random from the amount being paid. The 
Master of the Assaye then melted a pound's 
weight of it and the impurities were skimmed 
off. If the resulting mass was then light, the 
tax-payer had to throw in enough pennies to 
balance the scale. 

Blanchefleur (blonsh/ fler). The heroine of the 
Old French metrical romance, Flore et Blanche- 
fleur, which was used by Boccaccio as the basis 
of his prose romance, // Filocopo. The old 
story tells of a young Christian prince who 
falls in love with the Saracen slave-girl with 
whom he has been brought up. They are 
parted, but after many adventures he rescues 
her unharmed from the harem of the Emir of 
Babylon. It is a widespread story, and is 
substantially the same as that of Dongen and 
Aurelius by Chaucer, and that of Dianora 
and Ansaldo in the Decameron, See DORIGEN. 

Blank. To draw Wank. See DRAW. 

Blank cartridge. Cartridge with powder 
only, that is, without shot, bullet, or ball. 
Used in drill and in saluting. Figuratively, 
empty threats. 

Blank cheque. A cheque duly signed, but 
without specifying any sum of money; the 
amount to be filled in by the payee. 

To give a blank cheque is, figuratively, to 
give carte blanche (q.v.). 

Blank verse. Rhymeless verse in continu- 
ous decasyllabics with iambic or trochaic 
rhythm, first used in English by the Earl of 
Surrey in his version of the &neid> about 1540. 
There is other unrhymed verse, but it is not 
usual to extend to such poems as Collms's 
Ode to Evening, Whitman's Leaves of Grass, or 
the vers libre of to-day, the name blank verse. 

Blanket. The wrong side of the blanket. An 

illegitimate child is said to come of the wrong 
side of the blanket. 

A wet blanket. A discouragement; , a . 
marplot or spoil-sport. A person is a wet 
blanket who discourages a proposed scheme. 
"Treated with a wet blanket,*' discouraged. 
"A wet blanket influence," etc. A wet 
blanket is used to smother fire, or to prevent 
one escaping from a fire from being burnt. 

Blanketeers. The name given to a body of 
some 5,000 working men out of employment 




who assembled on St. Peter's Field, Manches- 
ter, March I Oth, 1817, and provided themselves 
with blankets intending to march to London, 
to lay before the Prince Regent a petition of 
grievances. Only six got as far as Ashbourae 
Bridge, when the expedition collapsed. 

In more recent times journalists have applied 
the name to similar bodies of unemployed, 
both in Great Britain and in America. 
Blarney. Soft, wheedling speeches to gain 
some end; flattery, or lying, with unblushing 
effrontery. Blarney is a village near Cork. 
Legend has it that Cormack Macarthy held 
its castle in 1602, and concluded an armistice 
with Carew, the Lord President, on condition 
of surrendering the fort to the English garrison. 
Day after day his lordship looked for the 
fulfilment of the terms, but received nothing 
but soft speeches, till he became the laughing- 
stock of Elizabeth's ministers, and the dupe of 
the Lord of Blarney. 

To kiss the Blarney Stone. In the wall of 
the castle at Blarney, about twenty feet from 
the top and difficult of access, is a triangular 
stone containing this inscription: "Cormac 
Mac Carthy fortis me fieri fecit, A.D. 1446." 
Tradition says that to whomsoever can kiss this 
is given the power of being able to obtain all 
his desires by cajolery. As it is almost 
impossible to reach, a substitute has been 
provided by the custodians of the castle, and 
it is said that this is in every way as efficacious 
as the original. 

Among the criminal classes of America "to 
blarney" means to pick locks. 
Blasphemy (bias' fe mi). The Greek from 
which this word comes means "evil speaking" 
but in English the term is limited to any 
impious or profane speaking of God or of 
sacred things. In ^ Law blasphemy is con- 
stituted by the publication of anything ridicul- 
ing or insulting Christianity, or the Bible, or 
God in the shape of any Person of the Holy 
Trinity. At one time the courts held that 
unorthodox arguments constituted blasphemy. 
In 1930 a Bill was introduced to make prosecu- 
tions for blasphemy illegal, but it was dropped. 

Blasphemous Balfour. Sir James Balfour, 
the Scottish judge, was so called because of his 
apostasy. He died in 1583. He is said to 
have served, deserted, and profited by all 

Blast. To strike by lightning; to cause to 
wither. The "blasted oak." This is the 
sense in which the word is used as an expletive. 

If it [the ghost] assume my noble father's person, 

I'll cross it, though it blast me. 

SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, i, 1. 

The use of Blast! as an imprecation goes 
back to at least Stuart times ; as an imprecatory 
adjective "a blasted rascal" it is employed 
even by the elegant Chesterfield. 

In full blast. In full swing; "all out." As 
one might say, "The speakers at Hyde Park on 
Saturday were in full blast." A metaphor 
from the blast furnace in full operation. 
Blatant Beast. In Spenser's Faerie Queene "a 
dreadful fiend of gods and men, ydrad"; the 
type of calumny or slander. He was begotten 
of Cerberus and Chimaera, and had a hundred 

tongues and a sting; with his tongues he 
speaks things "most shameful, most un- 
righteous, most untrue"; and with his sting 
"steeps them in poison." Sir Calidore 
muzzled the monster, and drew him with a 
chain to Faerie Land. The beast broke his 
chain and regained his liberty. The word 
"blatant" seems to have been coined by 
Spenser, and he never uses it except as an 
epithet for this monster, who is not mentioned 
till the twelfth canto of the fifth book. It is 
probably derived from the provincial word 
blate, meaning to bellow or roar. 

Blayney's Bloodhounds. The old 89th Foot; 
so called because of their unerring certainty, 
and untiring perseverance in hunting down the 
Irish rebels in 1798, when the corps was 
commanded by Lord Blayney. 

This regiment was later called "the Second 
Battalion of the Princess Victoria's Irish 
Fusiliers." The first battalion is the old 87th 

Blaze. A white mark in the forehead of a 
horse, and hence a white mark on a tree made 
by chipping off a piece of bark and used to 
serve as an indication of a path, etc. The 
word is not connected with the blaze of a fire, 
but is from Icel. blesi, a white star on the 
forehead of a horse, and is connected with 
Ger. blasz, pale. 

To blaze abroad. To noise abroad. 
"Blaze" here is the Icel. blasa, to blow, from 
O.Teut. blcesan, to blow, and is probably 
ultimately the same as Lat. flare. Dutch 
blazen and Ger. blasen are cognate words. 

He began to publish it much and to blaze abroad 
the matter. Mark i, 45. 

Blazer. A brightly coloured jacket, used in 
boating, cricket, and other summer sports. 
Originally applied to those of the Lady 
Margaret crew (Camb.), whose boat jackets 
are the brightest possible scarlet. 

A blazer is the red flannel boating jacket worn by 
the Lady Margaret, St. John's College, Cambridge, 
Boat Club. Daily News, August 22nd, 1889. 

Blazon. To blazon is to announce by a blast 
or blow {see BLAZE ABROAD above) of a trum- 
pet, hence the Ghost in Hamlet says, "But 
this eternal blazon must not be to ears of flesh 
and blood," i.e. this talk about eternal things, 
or things of the other world, must not be made 
to persons still in the flesh. Knights were 
announced by the blast of a trumpet on their 
entrance into the lists; the flourish was 
answered by the heralds, who described aloud 
the arms and devices borne by the knight: 
hence, to blazon came to signify to "describe 
the charges borne"; and blazonry is "the 
science of describing or deciphering arms.'* 

Ble de Mars. See BLOODY MARS. 

Bleed. To make a man bleed is to make him 
pay dearly for something; to victimize him. 
Money is the life-blood of commerce. 

It makes my heart bleed. It makes me very 

Take your own will, my very heart bleeds for thee. 
FLETCHER: Queen of Corinth, ii, 3. 

Bleeding Heart 



Bleeding Heart, Order of the. One of the 

many semi-religious orders instituted in the 
Middle Ages in honour of the Virgin Mary, 
whose "heart was pierced with many sorrows/' 

Bleeding of a dead body. It was at one 
time believed that, at the approach of a 
murderer, the blood of the murdered body 
gushed out. If in a dead body the slightest 
change was observable in the eyes, mouth, feet, 
or hands, the murderer was supposed to be 
present. The notion still survives m some 

Bleeding the monkey. The same as 
Sucking the Monkey. See MONKEY. 

Blefuscu (ble fus' kfl). An island in Swift's 
Gulliver's Travels, (tf.v.). In describing it 
Swift satirized France. 

Blemmyes (blem' iz). An ancient nomadic 
Ethiopian tribe mentioned by Roman writers 
as inhabiting Nubia and Upper Egypt. They 
were fabled to have no head, their eyes and 
mouth being placed in the breast. Cp. 


Blenheim Palace (blen'im). The mansion 

near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, given by the 

nation to the Duke of Marlborough, for his 

victory over the French at Blenheim, Bavaria, 

in 1704. 

When Europe freed confessed the saving power 

Of Marlborough 's hand, Britain, who sent him forth, 

Chief of confederate hosts, to fight the cause 

Of liberty and justice, grateful raised 

This palace, sacred to the leader's fame. 

The building was completed in 1716, and 
the architect was Sir John Vanbrugh, for whom 
the epitaph was written : 

Lie heavy on him, Earth, for he 
Laid many a heavy load on thee. 
And of all his buildings Blenheim was probably 
the heaviest. 

The Palace has given its name to a small 
dog, the Blenheim Spaniel, a variety of King 
Charles's Spaniel, and to a golden-coloured 
apple, the Blenheim Orange. 
Blenheim Steps. Going to Blenheim Steps 
meant going to be dissected, or unearthed from 
one's grave. There was an anatomical school, 
over which Sir Astley Cooper presided at 
Blenheim Steps, Bond Street. Here "re- 
surrectionists" were sure to find a ready mart 
for their gruesome wares, for which they 
received sums of money varying from 3 to 
10, and sometimes more. 
Bless. He has not a sixpence to bless himself 
with, i.e. in his possession; wherewith to make 
himself happy. This expression may perhaps 
be traced to the time when coins were marked 
with a deeply indented cross; silver is still 
used by gipsy fortune-tellers and so on for 
crossing one's palm for good luck. 

Blessing. Among Greek and R.C. ecclesi- 
astics the thumb and first two fingers, repre- 
senting the Trinity, are used in ceremonial 
blessing in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The thumb, 
being strong, represents the Fathers the long 
or second ringer, Jesus Christy and the first 
finger, the Holy Ghost, which proceedeth 
from the Father and the Son. 

Blighter. Slightly contemptuous but good- 
natured slang for a man, a fellow; generally 
with the implication that he is a bit of a scamp 
or, at the moment, somewhat obnoxious. 

Blighty. Soldiers' slang for England or the 
homeland came into popular use during 
World War I, but was well known to soldiers 
who had served in India long before. It is the 
Urdu Vilayati or Bilati, an adjective meaning 
provincial, removed at some distance; hence 
adopted by the military for England. 

Blimey. One of the numerous class of mild 
oaths or expletives whose real meaning is little 
understood by those who use them. This is a 
corruption of "blind me! " 
Blimp, Colonel. The term "blimp" was 
originally applied to a captive observation 
balloon, numbers of which were anchored 
along the front line in World War I. "Colonel 
Blimp" was invented by David Low, the 
cartoonist, to embody the elderly, dyed-in- 
the-wool Tory, mouthing stale j)olitical 
cliches and opposing any change in any 
shape. Colonel Blimp is usually depicted 
with white walrus moustache and naked save 
for a towel wrapped round him, as his great 
ideas occur in the Turkish bath. 
Blind. A pretence; something ostensible to 
conceal a covert design. The metaphor is 
from window-blinds, which prevent outsiders 
from seeing into a room. 

As an adjective blind is one of the many 
euphemisms for "drunk" short for "blind 
drunk," i.e. so drunk as to be unable to dis- 
tinguish things clearly. 

Landlady, count the lawin, 

The day is near the da win; 

Ye're a' blind drunk, boys, 

And I'm but jolly fou. 

In engineering a tube, valve or aperture of 
which one end which would be expected to be 
open is in fact closed, either as called for in 
the design or unintentionally through faulty 
workmanship, is described as blind. 

Blind as a bat. A bat is not blind, but if 
disturbed and forced into the sunlight it 
cannot see, and blunders about. It sees best 
in the dusk. 

Blind as a beetle. Beetles are not blind, but 
the dor-beetle or hedge-chafer, in its rapid 
flight, will occasionally bump against one as 
if it could not see. 

Blind as a mole. Moles are not blind, but 
as they work underground, their eyes are very 
small. There is a mole found in the south of 
Europe, the eyes of which are covered by 
membranes, and probably this is the animal 
to which Aristotle refers when he says, " the 
mole is blind." 

Blind as an owl. Owls are not blind, but 
being night birds, they see better in partial 
darkness than in the full light of day. 

Blind leaders of the blind. Those who give 
advice to others in need of it, but who are, 
themselves, unfitted to do so. The allusion 
is to Matt, xv, 14. 

To go it blind. To enter upon some 
undertaking without sufficient forethought, 
inquiry, or preparation. 




When the devil is blind. A circumlocution 
for "never.'* For similar phrases see NEVER. 

You came on his blind side. His soft or 
tender-hearted side. Said of persons who 
wheedle some favour out of another. He 
yielded because he was not wide awake to 
his own interest. 

Blind alley, A. A cul de sac, an alley .with 
no outlet. It is blind because it has no " eye '* 
or passage through it. 

Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green. See 
BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER. There is a public- 
house of this name in the Whitechapel Road. 

Blind Department, The. In Post Office 
parlance, a colloquialism for the "Returned 
Letter Office " (formerly known also as the 
"Dead Letter Office"), the department where 
letters with incoherent, insufficient, or illegible 
addresses are examined, and, if possible, put 
upon the proper track for delivery. The clerk 
in charge was called "The Blind Man." 

One of these addresses was ** Santlings, Hilewite " 
(St. Helen's, Isle of Wight). Dr. Brewer had one 
from France addressed, "A. Mons. E. Cobham, 
brasseur, Angleterre," and it reached him Another 
address was "Haselfeach in no famtshere" (Hazel- 
beach, Northamptonshire). 

Blind ditch. One which cannot be seen. 
Here blind means obscure, or concealed, as 
in Milton's "In the blind mazes of this 
tangled wood" (Cotntts, 181). 

Blind Half-hundred, The. An old name for 
the 50th Regiment of Foot. Many of them 
suffered from ophthalmia in the Egyptian 
campaign of 1801. 

Blind Harper, The. John Parry, who died 
in 1 782. He lived at Ruabon, and published 
collections of Welsh music. 

Blind Harry. A Scottish minstrel of the 
15th century. He died about 1492 and left in 
MS. an epic on Sir William Wallace which 
runs to 11,858 lines. 

Blind hedge. A ha-ha (q. v.) . 

Blind Magistrate, The. Sir John Fielding, 
knighted in 1761, was born blind. Sitting at 
Bow Street, he was m the commission of the 
Peace for Middlesex, Surrey, Essex, and the 
liberties of Westminster. 


Blindman's buff. A very old-established 
name for an old and well-known children's 
game. "Buff" here is short for "buffet," 
and is an allusion to the three buffs or pats 
which the "blind man" gets when he has 
caught a player. 

Blindman's holiday. The hour of dusk, 
when it is too dark to work, and too soon to 
light candles. The phrase was in common use 
at least as early as Elizabethan times. 

What will not blind Cupid doe in the night, which 
is his blindman's holiday. 

T. NASHE: Lenten Stujfe (1599). 

Blindmen's Dinner, The. A dinner unpaid 
for, the landlord being made the victim. 
Eulenspiegel (#.v.) being asked for alms by 
twelve blind men, said, "Go to the inn; eat, 
drink, and be merry, my men; and here are 

twenty florins to pay the bill." The blind men 
thanked him; each supposing one of the others 
had received the money. Reaching the inn, 
they told the landlord of their luck, and were 
at once provided with food and drink to the 
amount of twenty florins. On asking for 
payment, they all said, "Let him who received 
the money pay for the dinner "; but none had 
received a penny. 

Blindworm. See MISNOMERS. 

Blind spot. This is a small area not 
sensitive to light, situated on the retina where 
the optic nerve enters. The term is used 
figuratively to describe some area in one's 
discernment where judgment and under- 
standing are lacking. 

Block. To block a Bill. In parliamentary 
language means to postpone or prevent the 
passage of a Bill by giving notice of opposition, 
and thus preventing its being taken after half- 
past twelve at night. 

A chip of the old block. See CHIP. 

To cut blocks with a razor. See Cur. 

Blockhead. A stupid person; one without 
brains. The allusion is to a wig-maker's 
dummy or tete a perruque> on which he fits his 

Your wit will not so soon out as another man's 
will; 'tis strongly wedged up m a blockhead. 

SHAKESPEARE. Coriolanus, ii, 3. 

Blockhousers. The oldest Negro Regiment in 
the U.S. Army, nicknamed from its gallant 
assault on a blockhouse in the Spanish- 
American War. 

Blondin (blon' din). One of the most famous 
acrobats of all time. He was a Frenchman 
(b. 1824, d. 1897), his real name being Jean 
Francois Gravelet. He began performing at 
the age of five and acquired considerable 
repute by his aerial tricks. His great feat, 
however, was performed in 1859 when he 
crossed the Niagara Falls on a tight-rope. 
This he did several times, embellishing the 
performance by wheeling a barrow, twirling an 
umbrella, etc. He made a fortune by this show, 
and soon after his return settled in England, 
where he gave performances until too old to 
do so. 

Blood. In figurative use, blood, being treated 
as the typical component of the body inherited 
from parents and ancestors, came to denote 
members of a family or race as distinguished 
from other families and races, hence family 
descent generally, and hence one of noble or 
gentle birth, which latter degenerated into a 
buck, or aristocratic rowdy. 

The gallants of those days pretty much resembled 
the bloods of ours. 

GOLDSMITH: Reverie at the Boar's Head Tavern. 

A blood horse. A thoroughbred; a horse of 
good parentage or stock. 

A prince of the blood. One of the Royal 
Family. See BLOOD ROYAL. 

Bad blood. Anger, quarrels; as, It stirs 
up bad blood. It provokes to illfeeling and 

Blood and iron policy i.e. war policy. No 
explanation needed. 



Bloody hand 

Blood is thicker than water. Relationship 
has a claim which is generally acknowledged. 
It is better to seek kindness from a kinsman 
than from a stranger. Water soon evaporates 
and leaves no mark behind; not so blood. So 
the interest we take in a stranger is thinner and 
more evanescent than that which we take in a 
blood relation. The proverb occurs in Ray's 
Collection (1672) and is probably many years 

Blood money. Money paid to a person for 
giving such evidence as shall lead to the con- 
viction of another; money paid to the next of 
kin to induce him to forgo his "right" of 
seeking blood for blood, or (formerly) as 
compensation for the murder of his relative; 
money paid to a person for betraying another, 
as Judas was paid blood-money for his betrayal 
of the Saviour. 

Blood relation. One in direct descent from 
the same father or mother; one of the same 
family stock. 

Blue blood. See BLUE. 

In cold blood. Deliberately; not in the 
excitement of passion or of battle. 

It makes one's blood boil. It provokes 
indignation and anger. 

It runs in the blood. It is inherited or exists 
in the family or race. 

It runs in the blood of our family. SHERIDAN: 
The Rivals, iv, 2. 

Laws written in blood. Demades said that 
the laws of Draco were written in blood, 
because every offence was punishable by 

My own flesh and blood. My own children, 
brothers, sisters, or other near kindred. 

The blood of the Grograms. Taffety 
gentility; ^ make-believe aristocratic blood. 
Grogram is a coarse silk taffety stiffened with 
gum (Fr. gros grain). 

Our first tragedian was always boasting of his 
being "an old actor,'* and was full of the "blood 
of the Grograms/ 1 

C. THOMSON: Autobiography, p. 200. 
Blood, toil, tears and sweat. The words 
used by Winston Churchill in his speech to the 
House of Commons, 13 May, 1940, on be- 
coming Prime Minister. "I would say to the 
House as I have said to those who have joined 
this government, I have nothing to offer but 
blood, toil, tears and sweat." In his Anatomic 
of the World John Donne says, "Mollifie it 
with thy teares, or sweat, or blood." 

The field of blood. Aceldama (Acts i, 19), 
the piece of ground purchased with the blood- 
money of our Saviour, and set apart for the 
burial of strangers. 

The field of the battle of Cannae, where 
Hannibal defeated the Romans, 216 B.C., is 
also so called. 

Young blood. Fresh members; as, "To 
bring young blood into the concern." The 
term with the article, "a young blood," 
signifies a young rip, a wealthy young aristo- 
crat of convivial habits. 

Blood Royal. The royal family or race; 
also called simply "the blood," as "a prince 
of the blood." 

Man of blood. Any man of violent temper. 
David was so called in 2 Sam. xvi, 7 (Rev. Ver.), 
and the Puritans applied the term to Charles I. 

Man of Blood and Iron. An epithet be- 
stowed on Bismarck (1815-98), for many years 
Chancellor of Prussia and Germany, on 
account of his war policy and his indomitable 
will expressed in his first speech after appoint- 
ment as Minister-General. 

Bloodhound. Figuratively, one who follows 
up an enemy with pertinacity. Bloodhounds 
used to be employed for tracking wounded 
game by the blood spilt; subsequently they 
were employed for tracking criminals and 
slaves who had made their escape, and were 
hunters of blood, not hunters by blood. The 
most noted breeds are the African, Cuban, and 

Bloodstone. See HELIOTROPE. 

Bloodsucker. An animal like the leech, or 
the fabled vampire which voraciously sucks 
blood and which, if allowed, will rob a person 
of all vitality. Hence, a sponger, a parasite, 
or one intent upon another's material ruin. 


Bloody. Several fanciful derivations have 
been found for this expletive, once considered 
more vulgar than recent usage suggests. The 
most romantic of these was that the word is a 
corruption of "By our Lady"; another school 
of thought imagined that it came from an 
association of ideas with "bloods* 7 or 
aristocratic rowdies. There is little doubt, 
however, that its original meaning was, as it 
inrplies, "covered with blood." Partly owing 
to its unpleasant, violent, and lurid associa- 
tions, it easily became applied as an intensive in 
a general way. 

It was bloody hot walking to-day. SWIFT: Journal 
to Stella, letter xxii. 

As a title the adjective has been bestowed on 
Otto II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 
973-983, and the English Queen Mary (1553- 
58), has been called "Bloody Mary" on 
account of the religious persecutions which 
took place in her reign. 

The Bloody Eleventh. The old llth Foot, 
"The Devonshire Regiment," was so called 
from their having been several times nearly 
annihilated, as at Almanza, Fontenoy, 
Roucoux, Ostend, and Salamanca (1812), in 
capturing a French standard. 

Bloody Assizes. The infamous assizes held 
by Judge Jeffreys in 1685. Three hundred 
were executed, more whipped or imprisoned, 
and a thousand sent to the plantations for 
taking part in Monmouth's rebellion. 

Bloody Bill. The 31 Henry VIII, c. 14, 
which denounced death, by hanging or burn- 
ing, on all who denied the doctrine of transub- 

Bloody-bones. A hobgoblin; generally 
"Raw-head and Bloody-Bones." 

Bloody Eleventh. See REGIMENTAL NICK- 

Bloody hand. A term in old Forest Law 
denoting a man whose hand was bloody, and 

Bloody Mars 



was therefore presumed to be the person 
guilty of killing the deer shot or otherwise slain. 
In heraldry, the "bloody hand" is the badge 
of a baronet, and the armorial device of Ulster. 
In both uses it is derived from the O'Neils. 

Bloody Mars. A local English name for a 
variety of wheat. It is a corruption of the 
French ble de Mars, March grain. 

Bloody-nose. The popular name of the 
common wayside beetle, Timarcha Ixvigata, 
which can emit a reddish liquid from its joints 
when disturbed. 

Bloody Pots, The. See KIRK OF SKULLS. 

Bloody Thursday. The Thursday in the first 
week m Lent used to be so called. 

Bloody Wedding. The massacre of St. 
Bartholomew in 1572 is so called because it 
took place during the marriage feast of Henri 
(afterwards Henri IV) and Marguerite 
(daughter of Catherine de* Medici). 

Bloom, Leopold. See ULYSSES. 

Bloomers. A female costume consisting of a 
short skirt and loose trousers gathered closely 
round the ankles, so called from Mrs. Amelia 
Bloomer, of New York, who tried in 1849 to 
introduce the fashion. Nowadays "bloomers" 
is usually applied only to the trousers portion 
of the outfit. 

Blooming. A meaningless euphemism for the 
slang epithet "bloody." 

Blouse. A short smock-frock of a blue colour 
worn commonly by French workmen. Bleu 
is French argot for manteau. 

A garment called bliaut or bliaus, which appears 
to have been another name for a surcoat. ... In 
this bliaus we may discover the modern French 
blouse* a ... smock-frock 

PLANCH^: British Costume. 

The word is more commonly used for a 
woman's light bodice worn with a skirt. 

Blow. The English spelling blow represents 
three words of different origin, viz. 

(1) To move as a current of air, to send a 
current of air from the mouth, etc., from the 
A.S. blawan, cognate with the Mod. Ger. 
bldhen and Lat. flare. 

(2) To blossom, to flourish, from A.S. 
blowan, cognate with bloom, Ger. bluhen, and 
Lat. florera; and 

(3) A stroke with the first, etc., which is 
most likely from an old Dutch word, blau, to 

In the following phrases, etc., the numbers 
refer to the group to which each belongs. 

A blow out (1). A "tuck in," or feast 
which swells out the paunch. Also applied 
to the sudden flattening of a pneumatic tyre 
when the inner tube is punctured. 

At one blow (3). By one stroke. 

Blow me tight (1). A mild oath or expletive. 
If there's a soul, will give me food, or find me in 

By day or night, then blow me tight! (he was a vulgar 


fngoldsby Legends: Misadventures at Margate. 

You be blowed (1). A mild imprecation or 
Don't link yourself with vulgar folks, who've got no 

fixed abode, 

Tell lies, use naughty words, and say " they wish 
they may be blow'd! " 

Inqoldsby Legends, ibid. 

To blow one's top (1). To lose one's temper. 

Blown (1), in the phrase "fly-blown/* is a 
legacy from pre-scientific days, when natura- 
lists thought that maggots were actually blown 
on to the meat by blow-flies. 

Blown (1). Phrase applied to an internal 
combustion engine in which the luel is forced 
into the cylinders with the aid of a super- 
charger, or blower. 

Blown herrings (1). Herrings bloated, 
swollen, or cured by smoking; another name 
for bloaters. 

Blown upon (1). Made the subject of a 
scandal. His reputation has been blown upon, 
means that he has been the subject of talk 
wherein something derogatory was hinted at or 
asserted. Blown upon by the breath of 

Blow-point (1). A game similar to pea- 
puffing, only instead of peas small wooden 
skewers or bits of pointed wood were puffed 
through the tube. The game is alluded to by 
Florio, Strutt, and several other authors. 

It will soon blow over (1). It will soon be no 
longer talked about; it will soon come to an 
end, as a gale or storm blows over or ceases. 

I will blow him up sky high (1). Give him 
a good scolding. The metaphor is from 
blasting by gunpowder. 

The first blow is half the battle (3). Well 
begun is half done. Pythagoras used to say, 
"The beginning is half the whole." "Inap'e : 
Dimidium facti est cceposse" (Ausonius). 
"Dimidium facti, qui ccepit, habet" (Horace). 
"Ce rfest que le premier pas qui coute." 

To blow a cloud ( 1 ) . To smoke a cigar, pipe, 
etc. This term was m use m Queen Eliza- 
beth's reign. 

To blow a trumpet (1). To sound a trumpet. 
But when the blast of war blows in our ears, 
Let us be tigers in our fierce deportment. 

Henry V t iii, 1. 

To blow great guns (1). Said of a wind 
which blows so violently that its noise resembles 
the roar of artillery. 

To blow hot and cold (1). To be inconsistent. 
The allusion is to the fable of a traveller who 
was entertained by a satyr. Being cold, the 
traveller blew his fingers to warm them, and 
afterwards blew his hot broth to cool it. The 
satyr, in great indignation, turned him out of 
doors, because he blew both hot and cold 
with the same breath. 

To blow off steam (1). To get rid of super- 
fluous temper. The allusion is to the forcible 
escape of superfluous steam no longer required. 

To blow the gaff (1). To let out a secret; 
to inform against a companion; to "peach." 
Here gaff is a variant of gab (#.v.). 




To blow up (1). To inflate, as a bladder; 
to explode, to burst into fragments ; to censure 
severely. See I will blow him up, above. 

Without striking a blow. Without coming 
to a contest. 

Blower. A common term in the Army for 
wireless and telephone apparatus. Also term 
in motor sport used for a supercharger; a 
supercharged engine is said to be "blown." 

Blowzelinda (blou ze lin' da). A common 
18th-century name applied to a rustic girl. 
Sec Gay's Shepherd's Week: 

Sweet is my toil when Blowzelind is near; 

Of her bereft, 'tis winter all the year . , . 

Come, Blowzelinda, ease thy swain's desire, 

My summer's shadow and my winter's fire. 

Pastoral, i. 

A blouze was a ruddy fat-cheeked wench ; 
Sweet blowze, you are a beauteous blossom, sure. 
SHAKESPEARE: Titus Andronicus, iv, 2. 

Blowzy. Coarse, red-faced, bloated; applied 
to women. The word is allied to blush, 
blaze, etc. 

A face made blowzy by cold and damp. 

GEORGE ELIOT: Silas Marner. 

Blubber XM.E. bloberen, probably of imitative 
origin). To cry like a child, with noise and 
slavering; cp. slobber, slaver. 

I play the boy, and blubber in thy bosom, 

OTWAY: Venice Preserved, i, 1. 

The word is also used attributively, as in 
blubber-lips, blubber-cheeks, fat flabby cheeks, 
like whale's blubber. 

Bluchers (bloo' kerz). Half boots; so called 
after Field-Marshal von Bliicher (1742-1819) 

Bludger (Austr.). Originally (19th century) 
a pimp, but later any scrounger or one taking 
profit without risk. In World War I to bludge 
on the flag meant to slack in the army. The 
opprobrious adjective bludging is now widely 

Blue or Azure is the symbol of Divine eternity 
and human immortality. Consequently^ it is 
a mortuary colour hence its use in covering 
the coffins of young persons. When used for 
the garment of an angel, it signifies faith and 
fidelity. As the dress of the Virgin, it indicates 
modesty. In blazonry* it signifies chastity, 
loyalty, fidelity,} and a spotless reputation, and 
seems frequently to represent silver; thus we 
have the Blue Boar of Richard III, the Blue 
L'on of the Earl of Mortimer, the Blue Swan 
of Henry IV, the Blue Dragon, etc. 

The Covenanters wore blue as their badge, 
in opposition to the scarlet of royalty. They 
based their choice on Numb, xv, 38, "Speak 
unto the children of Israel, and bid them that 
they make them fringes in the borders of their 
garments . , . and that they put upon the 
fringe ... a ribband of blue." 

See COLOURS for its symbolisms. 

A blue, or a * 'staunch blue," descriptive ,of 
political opinions, for the most part means a 
Tory, for in most counties the Conservative 
colour is blue. See BLUE-COAT SCHOOL; 

Also, at Oxford and, Cambridge, a man who 
has been chosen to represent his 'Varsity in 
rowing, cricket, etc. Some sports, such as 

hockey and lacrosse, come in a lower category, 
and for these a "half blue" is awarded. 

A dark blue. An Oxford man or Harrow 

A light blue. A Cambridge man or Eton 

The Oxford Blues. The Royal Horse 
Guards were so called in 1690, from the Earl 
of Oxford their commander and the blue 
facings. Wellington, in one of his dispatches, 
writes* "I have been appointed colonel, of 
the Blues." 

True blue will never stain. A really noble 
heart will never disgrace itself. The reference 
is 19 blue aprons and blouses worn by butchers, 
which do not show blood-stains. 

True as Coventry blue. The reference is to a 
blue cloth and blue thread made at Coventry, 
noted for its permanent dye. 

'Twas Presbyterian true blue (Hudibras, i, 1). 
The allusion is to the blue apron which some 
of the Presbyterian preachers used to throw 
over their preaching-tub before they began to 
address the people. In one of the Rump 
songs we read of a person going to hear a 
lecture, and the song says 
Where I a tub did view, 
Hung with an apron blue; 

Twas the preacher's, I conjecture. 
To look blue. To be depressed. 

He was blue in the face. He had made too 
great an effort; was breathless and exhausted 
either bodily or with suppressed anger or 

A priest of the blue bag. A cant name for a 
barrister. See LAWYER'S BAG. 

Bluebeard. A bogy, a merciless tyrant, in 
Charles Perrault's Contes du Temps (1697). 
The tale of Bluebeard (Chevalier Raoul) is 
known to every child, but many have specu- 
lated on the original of this despot. Some say 
it was a satire on Henry VIII, of wife-killing 
notoriety. Dr. C. Taylor thinks it is a type 
of the castle lords in the days of knight- 
errantry. Holinshed calls Giles de Retz, 
Marquis de Laval, the original Bluebeard; he 
lived at Machecoul, in Brittany, was accused 
of murdering six of his seven wives, and was 
ultimately strangled and burnt in 1440. 

Campbell has a Bluebeard story in his Tales 
of the Western Highlands, called The Widow 
and her Daughters] it is found also in Strapola's 
Nights, the Pentamerone, and elsewhere. Cp. 
the Story of the Third Calender in the Arabian 

Bluebeard's key. When the blood stain 
of this key was rubbed out on one side, it 
appeared on the opposite side; so prodigality 
being overcome will appear m the form of 
meanness; and friends, over-fond, will often 
become enemies. 

Blue billy. A blue neckcloth with white 
spots. See BILLY. 

Blue Bird of Happiness. This is an idea 
elaborated from Maeterlinck's play of that 
name, first produced in London in 1910. It 
tells the story of a boy and girl seeking *'the 

Blue blood 



blue bird" which typifies happiness. This 
fancy of Maeterlinck's introduced for a time 
the phrase into English. 

Blue blood. High or noble birth or descent; 
it is a Spanish phrase, and refers to the fact 
that the veins shown in the skin of the pure- 
blooded Spanish aristocrat, whose race had 
suffered no Moorish or other admixture, were 
more blue than those of persons of mixed, and 
therefore inferior, ancestry. 

Blue Boar. A public-house sign; the 
cognisance of Richard III. In Leicester is a 
lane in the parish of St. Nicholas, called the 
Blue Boar Lane, because Richard slept there 
the night before the battle of Bosworth Field. 
The bristly boar, in infant gore, 
Wallows beneath the thorny shade. 

GRAY: The Bard. 

Blue Bonnets, or Blue Caps. The High- 
landers of Scotland, or the Scots generally. 
So called from the blue woollen cap at one 
time in very general use in Scotland, and still 
far from uncommon. 

He is there, too, . . . and a thousand blue caps more. 
1 Henry IV, ii, 4. 

Blue Books. In England, parliamentary 
reports and official publications presented by 
the Crown to both Houses of Parliament. 
Each volume is in, folio, and is covered with a 
blue wrapper. 

Short Acts of Parliament, etc., even without 
a wrapper, come under the same designation. 

The official colour of Spain is red* of Italy green, 
of France yellow, of Germany and Portugal, white. 

In America the "Blue Books" (like our "Red 
Books") contain lists of those persons who hold 
government appointments. 

Blue bottle. A constable, a policeman; 
also, formerly, an almsman, or anyone whose 
distinctive dress was blue. 

You proud varlets, you need not be ashamed to 
wear blue when your master is one of your fellows. 
DEKKER: The Honest Whore (1602). 

Shakespeare makes Doll Tearsheet denounce 
the beadle as a "blue-bottle rogue." 

I'll have you soundly swinged for this, you blue- 
bottle rogue. SHAKESPEARE: 2 Henry IV, v, 4. 

Blue Caps. See BLUE BONNETS. 

Blue-coat School. Christ's Hospital is so 
called because the boys there wear a long blue 
coat girded at the loins with a leather belt. 
Some who attend the mathematical school are 
termed King's boys, and those who constitute 
the highest class are Grecians. The school 
was founded by Edward VI the year of his 
death. It was moved from London to 
Horsham in 1902. 

Blue-eyed Maid. Minerva, the goddess of 
wisdom, is so called by Homer. 
Now Prudence gently pulled the poet's ear, 
And thus the daughter of the Blue-eyed Maid, 
In flattery's soothing sounds, divinely said, 
" O Peter, eldest-born of Phoebus, hear." 

PETER PINDAR: A Falling Minister. 
Blue fish, The. The shark, technically 
called Carcharias glaucus, the upper parts of 
which are blue. This should be distinguished 
from blue fish, an edible fish found in American 

Blue gown. A harlot. Formerly a blue 
gown was a dress of ignominy for a prostitute 

who had been arrested and placed in the House 
of Correction. 

The bedesmen, to whom the kings of 
Scotland distributed certain alms, were also 
known as blue gowns, because their dress was 
a cloak or gown of coarse blue cloth. The 
number of these bedesmen was equal to that of 
the king's years, so that an extra one was 
added at every returning birthday. These 
paupers were privileged to ask alms through 
the whole realm of Scotland. See GABER- 


Blue Guards. So the Oxford Blues, now 
called the Royal Horse Guards, were called 
during the campaign in Flanders (1742-5). 

Blue Hen's Chickens. The nickname for 
inhabitants of the State of Delaware. It is 
said that in the Revolutionary War a certain 
Captain Caldwell commanded, and brought to 
a high state of efficiency, a Delaware regiment. 
He used to say that no cock could be truly 
game whose mother was not a blue hen. 
Hence the Delaware regiment became known 
as "Blue Hen's Chickens,'* and the name was 
transferred to the inhabitants of the State 

Bluejackets. Sailors; so called because the 
colour of their jackets is blue. 

Blue John. A blue fluor-spar, found in the 
Blue John mine near Castleton, Derbyshire; 
so called to distinguish it from the Black Jack, 
an ore of zinc. Called John from John Kirk, 
a miner, who first noticed it. 

Blue laws. This is a phrase used in U.S.A. 
to describe laws which interfere with personal 
freedom, tastes and habits, such as sumptuary 
laws and those regulating private morals. The 
name was .first given to several laws of this 
kind said to have been imposed in the colonies 
of Connecticut and New Haven in the early 
18th century. 

Blue-light Federalists. A name given to 
those Americans who were believed to have 
made friendly ("blue-light") signals to 
British ships in the war of 1812. 

Bluemantle. One of the four English 
Pursuivants (q.v.) attached to the College of 
Arms, or Heralds' College, so called from his 
official robe. 

Blue Monday. The Monday before Lent, 
spent in dissipation. It is said that dissipation 
gives everything a blue tinge. Hence "blue" 
means tipsy. 

Blue moon. Once in a blue moon. Very 
rarely indeed. 

Blue murder. To shout blue murder. 
Indicative more of terror or alarm than* of real 
danger. It appears to be a play on the French 
exclamation morbleu; there may also be an 
allusion to the common phrase "blue ruin." 

Blue-noses. The Nova Scotians. 

"Pray, sir," said one of my fellow-passengers, 
"can you tell me the reason why the Nova Scotians 
are called * Blue-noses "> " 

"It is the name of a potato," said I, "which they 

produce in the greatest perfection, and boast to be 

the best in the world. The Americans have, in 

consequence, given them the nickname ofJBlue Noses." 


Blue Peter 


Blurt Out 

Bine Peter. A flag with a blue ground and 
white square in the centre, hoisted as a signal 
that the ship is about to sail. It takes its 
name from a "repeater", a naval flag hoisted 
to indicate that a signal has not been read and 
should be repeated, this flag having been used 
with that meaning originally. 

To hoist the blue Peter. To leave. 

"When are you going to sail?" 

"I cannot justly say. Our ship's bound for 
America next voyage . . . but I've got to go to the 
Isle of Man first . . . And I may have to hoist the 
blue Peter any day." 

Mrs. GASKELL: Mary Barton, ch. xiii. 

Bine Ribbon. The blue ribbon is the Garter, 
the badge of the highest and most coveted 
Order of Knighthood in the gift of the British 
Crown; hence the term is used to denote the 
highest honour attainable in any profession, 
walk of life, etc. The blue ribbon of the 
Church is the Archbishopric of Canterbury, 
that in law is the office of Lord Chancellor. 

The Blue Ribbon of the Turf. The Derby. 
Lord George Bentinck sold his stud, and found 
to his vexation that one of the horses sold won 
the Derby a few months afterwards. Be- 
wailing his ill-luck, he said to Disraeli, "Ah! 
you don't know what the Derby is." "Yes, 
I do," replied Disraeli; "it is the blue ribbon 
of the turf." 

A weal from a blow has had the term "blue 
ribbon" applied to it, because a bruise turns 
the skin blue. 

"Do you want a blue ribbon round those white 
sides of yours, you monkey? '* answered Orestes: 
"because, if you do, the hippopotamus hide hangs 
ready outside." KINGSLEY: Hypatia, ch. iv. 

Bice Ribbon Army. The Blue Ribbon 
Army was a teetotal society founded in the 
early eighties of the last century by Richard 
Booth in the U.S.A., and soon extending to 
Great Britain. The members were distin- 
guished by wearing a piece of narrow blue 
ribbon in the buttonhole of the coat. From 
this symbol the phrase Blue Ribbon Army 
came in time to be applied to the body of 
teetotallers generally, whether connected with 
the original society or not. In 1883 the 
society took the name of Gospel Temperance 

Blue Shirts. A force of Irish Volunteers 
taken to Spain by General O'Duffy to help 
General Franco in the civil war, 1936-9. 

Blue Squadron. One of the three divisions 
of the British Fleet in the 17th century. See 

Blue stocking. A female pedant. In 1400 
a society of ladies and gentlemen was formed 
at Venice, distinguished by the colour of their 
stockings, and called della calza. It lasted till 
1590, when it appeared in Pans and was the 
rage among the lady savants. From France it 
came to England in 1780, when Mrs. Mon- 
tague displayed the badge of the Bas-bleu club 
at her evening assemblies. Mr. Benjamin 
Stillingfleet was a constant attendant of the 
soirees. The last of the clique was Miss 
Monckton, afterwards Countess of Cork, who 
died 1840, but the name has survived. 

Blues. A traditional form of American 
Negro folk-song, of obscure origin, but 
expressive of the unhappiness of slaves in the 
Deep South. Usually consists of 12 bars, 
made up of three 4-bar phrases in 4/4 time. 
Both the words and accompaniment (which 
form an antiphonal) should be improvised, 
though many famous Blues have been written 
down; the subject matter is usually love, the 
troubles which have beset the singer, or a 
nostalgic longing for home. The best-known 
Blues singer was Bessie Smith (d. 1936). 

Bluey. The Australian name for blue- 
colouied blankets in wide use in the 19th 
century. From this the word became 
attached to the swag which tramps carried in 
their blankets. In Tasmania a bluey was a 
blue shirt-like garment issued to convicts. 

Bluff, To. In Poker and other card-games, to 
stake on a bad hand. This is a dodge 
resorted to by players to lead an adversary to 
throw up his cards and forfeit his stake rather 
than risk them against the "'bluffer." 

So, by extension, to bluff is to deceive by 
pretence. To call someone's bluff is to un- 
mask his deception. 

Bluff Harry or Hal. Henry VIII, so called 
from his bluff and burly manners (1491-1547). 

Blunderbore. A nursery-tale giant, brother of 
Cormoran, who put Jack the Giant Killer to 
bed and intended to kill him; but Jack thrust 
a billet of wood into the bed, and crept under 
the bedstead. Blunderbore came with his 
club and broke the billet to pieces, but was 
much amazed at seeing Jack next morning at 
breakfast-time. When his astonishment was 
abated he asked Jack how he had slept. 
"Pretty well," said the Cornish hero, "but 
once or twice I fancied a mouse tickled me 
with its tail." This increased the giant's 
surprise. Hasty pudding being provided for 
breakfast, Jack stowed away such huge stores 
in a bag concealed within his dress that the 
giant could not keep pace with him. Jack 
cut the bag open to relieve "the gorge,'* and 
the giant, to affect the same relief, cut his 
throat and thus killed himself. 

Blunderbuss. A short gun with a large bore. 
(Dut. donderbus, a thunder-tube.) 

Blunt. Ready money; a slang term, the origin 
of which is unknown. 
To get a Signora to warble a song, 
You must fork out the blunt with a haymaker's 

HOOD: A Tale of a Trumpet. 

Blurb. A paragraph printed on the dust- 
wrapper or in the preliminary leaves of a book 
purporting to tell what the book is about, 
written by the publisher and usually of a 
laudatory nature. The phrase was coined by 
Gelett Burgess, the American novelist (1866- 
1951), about the year 1900, when he defined it 
as "self-praise: to make a noise like a 

Blurt Out, To. To tell something from 
impulse which should not have been told. To 




speak incautiously, or without due reflection. 
Florio makes the distinction, to "flurt with 
one's fingers, and blurt with one's mouth." 

Blush. At first blush, at first sight, on the first 
glance. The word comes from the Old 
English blusch, a gleam, a glimpse, a momentary 
view. This sense of the word dropped out of 
use in the 16th century, except in the above 

To hide a blisful blusch of the bright sunne. 

Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight. 
At the first blush we thought they had been shippes 
come from Fra.nce.~~Hakluyt's Voyages, III. 

To blush like a blue dog. See DOG. 

To put to the blush. To make one blush 
with shame, annoyance, or confusion. 

Bo. You cannot say Bo ! to a goose i.e. you 

are a coward who dare not say bo ! even to a 
fool. It is said that once when Ben Jonson 
was introduced to a nobleman, the peer was 
so struck with his homely appearance that he 
exclaimed, "What! are you Ben Jonson? 
Why, you look as if you could not say Bo I 
to a goose." "Bo I" exclaimed the dramatist, 
turning to the peer and making his bow. (Cp. 
Lat. bo-are i Gr. boa-em, to cry aloud.) 

Boa. Pliny (Natural History, VIII, xiv) says 
the word is from Lat. bos (a cow), and arose 
from the belief that the boa sucked the milk 
of cows. 

Boadicea (bo a dis e' a). Much has been 
written about this heroic queen of the ancient 
Britons. She was the wife of Prasutagus, 
king of the Iceni, on whose death the Romans 
seized the territory, scourged the widow and 
ill-treated the daughters. Enfuriated and 
crying for vengeance, Boadicea raised a revolt 
of the Iceni and Trinobantes, burned Camu- 
lodunum and Londinium (Colchester and 
London) but was eventually defeated (A.D. 62) 
by Suetonius Paulinus. Rather than fall 
into the hands of the Romans she took poison 
and died. 

Boanerges (bo a ner 'jez). A name given to 
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, because 
they wanted to call down "fire from heaven*' 
to consume the Samaritans for not "receiving" 
the Lord Jesus. It is said in the Bible to 
signify "sons of thunder," but "sons of 
tumult" would probably be nearer its meaning 
(Luke ix, 54; see Mark iii, 17). 

Boar, The. Richard III. See BLUE BOAR. 

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar 

That spoiled your summer fields and fruitful vines: 

. . . This foul swine . . , lies now . . . 

Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn. 

SHAKESPEARE: Richard HI, v. 3. 

Buddha and the boar. A Hindu legend 
relates that Buddha died from eating boar's 
flesh dried. The third avatar of Vishnu was in 
the form of a boar, and in the legend "dried 
boar's flesh" probably typifies esoteric know- 
ledge prepared for popular use. None but 
Buddha himself must take the responsibility of 
giving out occult secrets, and he died while 
preparing for the general esoteric knowledge. 

B.D. 5 

The bristled Baptist boar. So Dryden 
denominates the Anabaptists in his Hind and 

The bristled Baptist boar, impure as he {the ape}, 
But whitened with the foam of sanctity, 
With fat pollutions filled the sacred place, 
And mountains levelled in his furious race. 

Pt. i, 43. 

The Calydonian boar. In Greek legend, 
CEneus, king of Calydon, in ^Etolia, having 
neglected to sacrifice to Artemis, was punished 
by the goddess sending a ferocious boar to 
ravage his lands. A band of heroes collected 
to hunt the boar, which was wounded by 
Atalanta, and killed by Meleager. 

The wild boar of the Ardennes. Guillaume, 
Comte de la Marck (died 1485), so called 
because he was fierce as the wild boar, which 
he delighted to hunt. Introduced by Scott in 
Quentin Durward. 

Boar's Head. The Old English custom of 
serving this as a Christmas dish is said to 
derive from Scandinavian mythology. Freyr, 
the god of peace and plenty, used to ride on 
the boar Gullmbursti ; his festival was held at 
Yuletide (winter solstice),, when a boar was 
sacrificed to his honour. 

The head was carried into the banqueting 
hall, decked with bays and rosemary on a gold 
or silver dish, to a flourish of trumpets and 
the songs of the minstrels. Many of these 
carols are still extant (see CAROL), and the 
following is the first verse of that sung before 
Prince Henry at St. John's College, Oxford, 
at Christmas, 1607: 

The Boar is dead, 

So, here is his head; 
What man could have done more 

Than his head off to strike, 

Meleager like 
And bring it as I do before? 

The Boar's Head Tavern. Made immortal 
by Shakespeare, this used to stand in East- 
cheap, on the site of the present statue of 
William IV. The sign was the cognisance of 
the Gordons, the progenitor of which clan 
slew, in the forest of Huntley, a wild boar, 
the terror of all the Merse (1093). 

Board. In all its many senses, this word is 
ultimately the same as the A.S. bord, a board, 
plank, or table; but the verb, to board t 
meaning to attack and enter a ship by force, 
hence to embark on a ship, and figuratively 
to accost or approach a person, is short for 
Fr. aborde, from abo^der, which itself is from 
the same word, bord, as meaning the side of a 
ship. In starboard, larboard, on board and 
overboard the sense "the side of a ship" is 
still evident. 

I'll board her, though she chide as loud 

As thunder. 

Taming of the Shrew, i, 2. 

A board. A council which sits at a board or 
table; as "Board of Directors," "Board of 
Guardians," "School Board," "Board of 
Trade," etc. 

The Board of Green Cloth. A Court that 
used to form part of the English Royal House- 
hold, and was presided over by the Lord 
Steward. It was so called because it sat at a 
table covered with green cloth. It existed 

Board School 



certainly in the reign of Henry I, and probably 
earlier. It is now concerned with the royal 
domestic arrangements, under the authority 
of the Master of the Household. 

Board of Green Cloth, June 12th, 1681. Order 
was this day given that the Maides of Honour 
should have cherry- tarts instead of gooseberry-tarts, 
it being observed that cherrys are threepence a pound. 

In modern slang the board of green cloth 
is the card-table or billiard-table. 

Board School, An undenominational ele- 
mentary school managed by a School Board as 
established by the Elementary Education Act 
in 1870, and supported by a parliamentary 

frant collected by a rate. When the School 
oards were abolished by the Education Act 
of 1902 and the County Councils were given 
their duties, the name Board School was 
dropped and the schools became known as 
County or Council Schools. 

He is on the boards. He is an actor by 

To sweep the hoard. To win and carry off 
all the stakes in a game of cards, or all the 
prizes at some meeting. 

To hoard. To feed and lodge together, is 
taken from the custom of the university 
members, etc., dining together at a common 
table or board. 

Boarding school. A school where the 
pupils are fed and lodged as well as taught 
The term is sometimes applied to "prison." 
I am going to boarding school, going to prison 
to be taught good behaviour. 

Board wages. Wages paid to servants 
which includes the cost of their food. Ser- 
vants "on board wages" provide their own 

Board, in many sea phrases, is all that space 
of the sea which a ship passes over in tacking. 

To go by the board. To go for good and all, 
to be quite finished with, thrown overboard. 
Here board means the side of the ship. 

To make a good board. To make a good 
or long tack in beating to windward. 

To make a short board. To make a short 
tack. "To make short boards," to tack 

To make a stern board. To sail stern fore- 

To run aboard of. To run foul of another 
ship. See also ABOARD. 

Boast of England, The. A name given to 
"Tom Thumb" or "Tom-a-lin" by Richard 
Johnson, who in 1599 published a "history 
of this ever-renowned soldier, the Red Rose 
Knight, surnamed The Boast of England, 
showing his honourable victories in foreign 
countries, with his strange fortunes in Faery 
Land, and how he married the fair Angliterra, 
daughter of Prester John. . . ." 

Boatswain, (bo'zan). The officer who has 
charge of the boats, sails, rigging, anchors, 
cordage, cables, and colours. Swain is the 
old Scand. sveinn, a boy, servant, attendant; 

hence the use of the word in poetry for a 
shepherd and a sweetheart. 

The merry Bosun from his side 

His whistle takes. 

DRYDEN: Albion and Albanius. 

Boaz. See JACHIN. 

Bob. Slang for a shilling. The origin of the 
word is unknown. It dates from about 1800. 

Bob. A term used in campanology de- 
noting certain changes in the long peals rung 
on bells. A bob minor is rung on six bells, 
a bob triple on seven, a bob major on eight, a 
bob royal on ten, and a bob maximus on twelve. 

To give the bob to anyone. To deceive, to 
balk. Here bob is from M.E. bobben, O.Fr. 
bober, to befool. 

With that, turning his backe, he smiled in his 
sleeve, to see howe kindely hee had given her the 
bobbe. GREENE: Menaphon (1589). 

To bob for apples or cherries is to try and 
catch them in the mouth while they swing 
backwards and forwards. Bob here means to 
move up and down buoyantly; hence, the 
word also means "to curtsy," as in the 
Scottish S9ng, If it isn't wee! bobbit we'll bob 
it again, signifying, if it is not well done we'll 
do it again. 

To bob for eels is to fish for them with a bob, 
which is a bunch of lobworms like a small mop. 
Fletcher uses the word in this sense : 

What, dost thou think I fish without a bait, wench? 

I bob for fools: he is mine own, I have him. 

I told thee what would tickle him like a trout; 

And, as I cast it, so I caught him daintily. 

Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, ii, 4. 

To bob means also to thump, and a bob is a 

He that a fool doth very wisely hit, 
Doth very foolishly, although he smart, 
Not to seem senseless of the bob. 

As You Like It, ii, 7. 

Bear a bob. Be brisk. The allusion is to 
bobbing for apples, which requires great agility 
and quickness. 

A bob wig. A wig in which the bottom 
locks are turned up into bobs or short curls. 

Bobbed hair is hair that has been cut short 
docked like a bobtailed horse's tail. 

Bob's your uncle. In other words, "That'll 
be all right; you needn't bother any more." 
The origin of the phrase is unknown; it was 
certainly in use in the 1880s, but no satisfactory 
explanation of who "Bob" was has been 
brought forward. 

Pretty bobbish. Pretty well (in spirits and 
health), from bob, as in the phrase bear a bob 

Bobby. A policeman; this slang word is 
derived from Sir Robert Peel, and became 
popular through his having in 1828 remodelled 
the Metropolitan Police Force. Cp. PEELER. 

Bobby-sox. Ankle-length socks affected by 
teen-age girls in the U.S.A. in the early 1940s; 
hence the noun Bobby-soxers, young women 
who achieved notoriety by unruly demonstra- 
tions at the public appearances of fashionable 




Bobadil. A military braggart of the first water. 
Captain Bobadil is a character in Ben Jonson's 
Every Man in his Humour. This name was 
probably suggested by Bobadilla, first governor 
of Cuba, who sent Columbus home in chains. 

Bobbery, as Kicking up a bobbery, making a 
squabble or tumult, kicking up a shindy. It is 
much used in India, and most probably comes 
from Hind, bapre, "Oh, father 1" a common 
exclamation of surprise. 

Boccus, King. See SIDRAC. 

Bockland or Bookland. Land severed from 
the folkland (i.e. the common land belonging 
to the people) and held either communally 
or in severally, and converted into a private 
estate of perpetual inheritance by a written 
hoc (or book) i.e. a deed. 

The place-name Buckland is derived from 
this word. 

Boden-See. The German name for the Lake 
of Constance; so called because it lies in the 
Boden, or low country at the foot of the Alps. 

Bodkin. A word of uncertain origin, originally 
signifying a small dagger. In the early years 
of Elizabeth's reign it was applied to the 
stiletto worn by ladies in the hair. In the 
Seven Champions, Castria took her silver 
bodkin from her hair, and stabbed to death 
first her sister and then herself, and it is 
probably with this meaning that Shakespeare 
used the word in the well-known passage from 
Hamlet* "When he himself might his quietus 
make with a bare bodkin." 

To ride bodkin. To ride in a carriage be- 
tween two others, the accommodation being 
only for two. There is no ground for the 
suggestion that bodkin in this sense is a contrac- 
tion of body kin, a little body. The allusion to 
something so slender that it can be squeezed in 
anywhere is obvious. 

If you can bodkin the sweet creature into the coach. 


There is hardly room between Jos and Miss Sharp, 
who are on the front seat, Mr. Osborne sitting bodkin 
opposite, between Captain Dobbin and Amelia. 
THACKERAY: Vanity Fair. 

Bodle. A Scotch copper com, worth about 
the sixth of a penny; said to be so called from 
Bothwell, a mint-master. 

Fair play, he car'd na dells a boddle. 

BURNS: Tarn o' Shanter, 110. 

To care not a bodle is equivalent to our 
English phrase, "Not to care a farthing." 

Bodleian Library (bodle' an) (Oxford). So 
called because it was restored by Sir Thomas 
Bodley in 1597. It was originally established 
in 1455 and formally opened in 1488, but it fell 
into neglect in the course of the next century. 
It is now, in size and importance, second only 
to the library of the British Museum, and is 
one of the five libraries to which a copy of all 
copyright books must be sent. 

Body (A.S. bodig). 

A compound body, in old chemical phrase- 
ology, is one which has two or more simple 
bodies or elements in its composition, as 

A regular body, in geometry, means one of 
the five regular solids, called "Platonic** 
because first suggested by Plato. See PLA- 

The heavenly bodies. The sun, moon, stars, 
and so on. 

The seven bodies (of alchemists) . The seven 
metals supposed to correspond with the seven 


1. Apollo, or the Sun 

2. Diana, or the Moon 

3. Mercury 

4. Venus 

5. Mars 

6. Jupiter 

7. Saturn 


To body forth. To give mental shape to an 
ideal form. 

Imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown. 
SHAKESPEARE: Midsummer Night's Dream, v, 1. 

To keep body and soul together. To sustain 
life; from the notion that the soul gives life. 
The Latin anima, and the Greek psyche^ mean 
both soul and life; and, according to Homeric 
mythology and the common theory of 
"ghosts," the departed soul retains the shape 
and semblance of the body. See ASTRAL 

Body colour. Paint containing body or 
consistency. Water-colours are made opaque 
by mixing with white lead. 

Body corporate. An aggregate of indivi- 
duals legally united into a corporation. 

Body jK>Iitic. A whole nation considered 
as a political corporation; the state. In Lat., 
totum corpus reipublicce. 

Bodyline. A cricket term for fast bowling 
at the batsman instead of at the wicket, with 
the object of forcing him to give a catch while 
defending his person. The accurate but 
dangerous bowling of Larwood and Voce won 
the Ashes (#.v.) for England in Australia in 
1932-33, but precipitated a crisis which 
caused a change in the rules of the game. 

Body-snatcher. One who snatches or pur- 
loins bodies, newly buried, to sell them to 
surgeons for dissection. The first instance 
on record was in 1777, when the body of Mrs. 
Jane Sainsbury was "resurrected" from the 
burial ground near Gray's Inn Lane. The 
"resurrection men" (q.v.) were imprisoned 
for six months. 

By a play on the words, a bum-bailiff was so 
called, because his duty was to snatch or 
capture the body of a delinquent. 

(be 6' sha). The ancient name for a 
district in central Greece, probably so called 
because of its abundance of cattle, but 
according to fable, because Cadmus was con- 
ducted by an ox (Gr. bous) to the spot where 
he built Thebes. 

Boeotian (be o' shan). A rude, unlettered per 
son, a dull blockhead. The ancient Boeotian; 
loved agricultural and pastoral pursuits, s< 
the Athenians used to say they were dull anc 
thick as their own atmosphere; yet Hesiod 

Bceotian ears 


Bologna Stone 

Pindar, Corinna, Plutarch, Pelopidas, and 
Epammondas, were all Boeotians. 

Boeotian ears. Ears unable to appreciate 
music or rhetoric. 

Well, friend, I assure thee thou hast not got 
Boeotian ears [because you can appreciate the beauties 
of my sermons], LE SAGE: Gil Bias, vii, 3. 

Boethius (bo e' thi us). Interest in this Roman 
author (A.D. c. 475-c. 524) chiefly arises from 
the fact that his De Consolations Philosophiae 
was translated by King Alfred and by Chaucer, 
who mentions him in the Canterbury Tales. 

Boffin. A nickname given in the R.A.F. 
during World War II to research scientists or 
"backroom boys 7 ' (#.v.). 
Bogey. See BOGY. 

Bogomili (bog 6 mil' i). An heretical sect 
which seceded from the Greek Church in the 
12th century. Their chief seat was Thrace, 
and they were so called from a Bulgarian 
priest, Bogorml, a reformer of the 10th century. 
Their founder, Basilius, was burnt by Alex- 
ius Comnenus in 1118; they denied the 
Trinity, the institutions of sacraments and of 
priests, believed that evil spirits assisted in the 
creation of the world, etc. 

Bog-trotters. Irish tramps; so called from 
their skill in crossing the Irish bogs, from 
tussock to tussock, either as guides or to 
escape pursuit. 

Bogus. An adjective applied to anything 
spurious, sham, or fraudulent, as bogus 
currency, bogus transactions. The word came 
from America, and is by some connected with 
bogy; but there are other suggestions. One is 
that it is from an Italian named Borghese who, 
about 1837, was remarkably successful in 
amassing a fortune in the Western States by 
means of forged bills, fictitious cheques, etc.; 
another, that ten years before this the name 
was given to an apparatus for coining false 
money; while Lowell (Biglow Papers) says, "I 
more than suspect the word to be a corruption 
of the French bagasse." 

Bogy. A hobgoblin; a person or object of 
terror; a bugbear. The word appeared only 
in the early 19th century, and is probably 
connected with the Scottish bogle, and so with 
the obsolete bug. 

Colonel Bogy. A name given in golf to an 
imaginary player whose score for each hole 
is settled by the committee of the particular 
club and is supposed to be the lowest that a 
good average player could do it in. Beating 
Bogy or the Colonel, is playing the hole in a 
less number of strokes. 

During World War I troops on the march 
were forbidden to sing a catchy song entitled 
Colonel Bogy as the words they substituted for 
the real ones were not considered edifying. 

Bohea (bo he'). A type of tea much favoured 
in the 18th century. The name is a corruption 
of Wu-i, the hills in China upon whose slopes 
it is grown. 

Bohemia, The Queen of. This old public- 
house sign is in honour of Elizabeth, daughter 
of James I, who was married to Frederick, 
elector palatine, for whom Bohemia was 

raised into a separate kingdom. It is through 
her that the Hanoverians succeeded to the 
throne of Great Britain. 

Bohemian. A slang term applied to literary 
men and artists of loose and irregular habits, 
living by what they can pick up by their wits. 
Originally the name was applied to the gipsies, 
from the belief that before they appeared m 
western Europe they had been denizens of 
Bohemia, or because the first that arrived in 
France came by way of Bohemia (1427). 
When they presented themselves before the 
gates of Pans they were not allowed to enter 
the city, but were lodged at La Chapelle, St. 
Dems. The French nickname for gipsies is 
cagoux (unsociables). 

Bohemian Brethren. A religious sect formed 
out of the remnants of the Hussites. They 
arose at Prague in the 15th century, and are 
the forerunners of the modern Moravians. 

Boiling-point. He was at boiling-point. Very 
angry indeed. Properly the point of heat 
at which water, under ordinary conditions, 
boils (212 Fahrenheit, 100 Centigrade, 80 

Bold. Bold as Beauchamp. It is said that 
Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, with 
one squire and six archers, overthrew 100 
armed men at Hogges, in Normandy, in 1346. 
This exploit is not more incredible than that 
attributed to Captal-de-Buch, who, with forty 
followers, cleared Meux of the insurgents 
called La Jacquerie, 7,000 of whom were slain 
by this little band, or trampled to death m the 
narrow streets as they fled panic-struck (1358). 

Bold as brass. Downright impudent; 
without modesty. Similarly we say "brazen- 

I make bold to say. I take the liberty of 
saying; I venture to say. 

Bolerium Promontory (bol e' ri iim). Land's 
End; the Bellerium (see BELLERUS) of the 

Bolero (bo lar' 6). A Spanish dance; so called 
from the name of the inventor. 

Bolingbroke (bol' ing bruk). Henry IV of 
England; so called from Bolingbroke, in 
Lincolnshire, where he was born (1367-1413). 

Bollandists. Editors of the Acta Sanctorum 
begun by John Bollandus, Dutch Jesuit 
martyrologist (1596-1665); the first two 
volumes were published in 1643; these contain 
the saints commemorated in January. The 
work is not yet finished, but the sixty-first 
folio volume was published in 1875. 

Bollen. Swollen. The past participle of the 
obsolete English verb, bell, to swell. Hence 
"joints bolne-big" (Golding), and "bolne in 
pride" (Phaer). The seed capsule or pod of 
flax or cotton is called a "boll." 
The barley was in the ear, and the flax was boiled. 

Exod. ix, 31. 

Bologna Stone (bolon'ya). A sulphate of 
baryta found in masses near Bologna. After 
being heated, powdered, and exposed to the 
light it becomes phosphorescent. 

Bolognese School 


Bombay Duck 

Bolognese School. There were three periods 
to the Bolognese School in painting the 
Early, the Roman, and the Eclectic. The first 
was founded by Marco Zoppo, in the 15th 
century, and its best exponent was Francia. 
The second was founded in the 16th century 
by Bagnacavallo, and its chief exponents were 
Primaticio, Tibaldi, and Nicolo dell* Abate. 
The third was founded by the Carracci, at 
the close of the 16th century, and its best 
masters have been Domenichino, Lanfranco, 
Guido, ScHdone, Guercino, and Albani 

Boloney (bo 16' ni). Originally meaning a 
Bologna sausage, the word is now used to 
describe something pretentious but useless 
and worthless. "Bunk" and "hooey" are 
employed in this same way. 

Bolshevik (bol' she vik) or (less correctly) 
Bolshevist. Properly, a member of the Russian 
revolutionary party that seized power under 
Lenin in 1917, declared war on capitalism and 
the bourgeoisie in all lands, and aimed at the 
establishment of supreme rule by the pro- 
letariat. The Bolshevik government was so 
called because it professed to act in the name 
of the majority (bolshe is the comparative of 
the adjective bolshoi, big, large, and bolsheviki 
= majority). 

Bolt. Originally meaning a short thick arrow 
with a blunt head, is an Anglo-Saxon word, 
and must not be confused with the old word 
bolt (O.Fr. butter, connected with Lat. burra, a 
coarse cloth) meaning a sieve, or to sieve. 
This latter word is almost obsolete, but is used 
by Browning: 

The curious few 

Who care to sift a business to the bran 
Nor coarsely bolt it like the simpler sort. 
Ring and the Book, i, 923 

From meaning an arrow bolt came to be 
applied to the door fastening, which is of a 
similar shape, and these meanings (a missile 
capable of swift movement, and a fastening) 
have given rise to combinations and phrases of 
very separated meaning, as will be seen from 
the following. 

Bolted arrow. A blunt arrow for shooting 
young rooks with a cross-bow; called "bolting 
rooks." A gun would not do, and an arrow 
would mangle the little things too much. 

Bolt upright. Straight as an arrow. 
Wmsinge she was, as is a jolly colt, 
Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt. 

CHAUCER: Miller's Tale, 77. 

The fool's bolt is soon spent. A foolish 
archer shoots all his arrows so heedlessly that 
he leaves himself no resources in case of need. 

The horse bolted. The horse shot off like a 
bolt or arrow. 

To bolt food. To swallow it quickly without 
waiting to chew it; hence, to bolt a Bill, a 
political phrase used of Bills that are passed 
whole before proper time or opportunity has 
been given for their consideration. 

To holt out the truth. To blurt it out; also 
to bolt out, to exclude or shut out by bolting 
the door. 

A bolt from the blue. A sudden and wholly 
unexpected catastrophe or event, like a 

"thunderbolt" from the blue sky, or flash of 
lightning without warning and wholly un- 
expected. Here "bolt" is used for lightning, 
though, of course, in strict language, a 
meteorite, not a flash of lightning, is a 

Namque Diespiter 
Igni corusco nubila dividens, 
Plerumque, per purum tenantes 
Egit equos volucremque currum. . . . 

Horace 1 Ode xxxiv, 5, etc. 
Bolt in tun. In heraldry, a bird-bolt, in 
pale, piercing through a tun, often used as a 
public-house sign. The punning crest of 
Serjeant Bolton, who died 1787, was "on a 
wreath a tun erect proper, transpierced by an 
arrow fesseways or." Another family ot the 
same name has for crest "a tun with a bird- 
bolt through it proper." A third, harping on 
the same string, has "a bolt gules in a tun or." 
The device was adopted as a public-house 
sign in honour of some family who own it as 
a coat of arms. 

Bolton. Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton. Give 

me some advantage. What you say must be 
qualified, as it is too strong. Ray says that a 
collection of proverbs was once presented to 
the Virgin Queen, with the assurance that it 
contained all the proverbs in the language; 
but the Queen rebuked the boaster with the 
proverb, "Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton," 
a proverb omitted in the compilation. John 
Bolton was one of the courtiers who used to 
play cards and dice with Henry VIIi; and 
flattered the king by asking him to allow him 
an ace or some advantage in the game. 

Bolus. Properly, a rather large-sized pill; 
so called from a Greek word meaning a 
roundish lump of clay. 

Bomb. A metal shell filled with an explosive. 
From _the Gr. bombos, any deep, especially 
humming, noise (ultimately the same word as 

King Bomba. A nickname given to Ferdin- 
and II, King of Naples, in consequence of his 
cruel bombardment of Messina in 1848, in 
which the slaughter and destruction of 
property was most wanton. 

Bomba II was the nickname given to his son 
Francis II for bombarding Palermo in 1860. 
He was also called Bombalino (Little Bomba). 

Bombshell. A word used figuratively in 
much the same way as bolt in a bolt from the 

Bombast literally means the produce of the 
bombyx, or silk-worm (Gr. bombux] ; formerly 
applied to cottonwool used for padding, and 
hence to inflated language. 

We have received your letters full of love. . . . 

And in our maiden council rated them . . . 

As bombast and as lining to the time. 

SHAKESPEARE: Love's Labour's Lost, v, 2. 

Bombastes Furioso (bom bas' tez fu ri 6' zo). 
One who talks big or in an ultra-bombastic way. 
From the hero of a burlesque opera so called 
by William Barnes Rhodes, produced in 1813 
in parody of Orlando Furioso. 

Bombay Duck. A fish, the bummalo, which, 
is dried and eaten with curries. 




Bombiti. See BARISAL GUNS. 

Bon Gaultler Ballads (bon gol' tyer). Parodies 
of contemporary poetry by W. E. Aytoun and 
Sir Theodore Martin. They first appeared in 
Taifs, Fraser's, and Blackwood*s Magazines in 
the 'forties, and were published m volume form 
in 1885. 

Bon mot (bong mo) (Fr.). A good or witty 
saying; a pun; a clever repartee. 

Bon ton (Fr,). Good manners or manners 
accredited by good society. 

Bon vivant (Fr.). A free liver; one who 
indulges in the "good things of the table." 
Bon viveur means much the same, but is 
rather stronger, suggesting one who makes a 
pursuit of other pleasures besides those of the 

Bona Fide (bo' na fY di) (Lat). Without sub- 
terfuge or deception; really and truly. Liter- 
ally, in good faith. To produce bona fides is to 
produce credentials, to give proof that some- 
one is what he appears to be or can perform 
that which he says he can. 

Bonanza (bonan'za). This is a Spanish and 
Portuguese word meaning fair weather at sea, 
and prosperity generally. It found its way 
into English through the miners on the Pacific 
coast of N. America who applied it to any very 
rich body of ore in a mine. The silver 
deposits of the Comstock Mine in Nevada 
were thus called the Bonanza Mines. 

Bona-roba (bo'na ro'ba). (from Ital. buona 
roba, good stuff, fine gown, fine woman). A 
courtesan; so called from the smartness of 
her robes or dresses. 

We knew where the bona-robas were. 

2 Henry 17, iii, 2. 

Bond. Wines, and spirits and any dutiable 
article may be imported and left in bond in 
warehouses supervised by H.M. Customs and 
Excise without duty being paid. This enables 
a merchant to re-export without financial 
complications, or to import in bulk and pay 
duty on part of the goods at a time as he 
requires them. Wines and spirits are some- 
times described as "bottled in bond" i.e. 
bottled in H.M. warehouses, before there 
could be any adulteration. 

Bonduca (bon da' ka). One of the many forms 
of the name of the British Queen, which in 
Latin was frequently (and m English is now 
usually) written Boadicea 67. v.). Fletcher 
wrote a fine tragedy with this name (1616), the 

rincipal characters being Caractacus and 

Bone. Old thieves' slang for "good," 
"excellent." From the Fr. bon. The lozenge- 
shaped mark chalked by tramps and vagabonds 
on the walls of houses where they have been 
well received is known among the fraternity as 
a "bone." 

Also slang for dice and counters used at 
cards; and the man who rattles or plays the 
bones in a negro minstrel show is known as 
"Uncle Bones." 

Bone, To. To filch, as, / boned it. Shake- 
speare (2 Henry VI, i, 3) says, "By these ten 

bones, my lord . . .'* meaning the tenfingers; 
and (Hamlet, iii, 2) calls the fingers "pickers 
and stealers." So "to bone'* may mean to 
finger, that is, "to pick and steal." 

Other suggested explanations of the origin 
of the term are that it is in allusion to the way 
in which a dog makes off with a bone, and that 
it is a corruption of the slang "bonnet" (#.v.). 

You thought that I was buried deep 

Quite decent-like and chary, 
But from her grave in Mary-bone, 

They've come and boned your Mary ! 

HOOD : Mary's Ghost. 

A bone of contention. A disputed point; a 
point not yet settled. The metaphor is taken 
from two dogs fighting for a bone. 

Bred in the bone. A part of one's nature. 
"What's bred m the bone will come out in the 
flesh." A natural propensity cannot be 

I have a bone in my throat. I cannot talk; 1 
cannot answer your question. 

I have a bone in my leg. An excuse given 
to children for not moving from one's seat. 
Similarly, "I have a bone in my arm," and 
must be excused using it for the present. 

Napier's bones. See NAPIER. 

One end is sure to be bone. It won't come up 
to expectation. "All is not gold that glitters." 

To give one a bone to pick. To throw a sop 
to Cerberus; to give a lucrative appointment to 
a troublesome opponent or a too zealous ally 
in order to silence him and keep him out of the 
way. It is a method frequently resorted to in 
political life; one whose presence is not 
convenient in the House of Commons is sent 
to the Lords, given a Colonial appointment, 
or a judgeship, etc. 

To have a bone to pick with someone. To 
have an unpleasant matter to discuss and settle. 
This is another allusion from the kennel. 
Two dogs and one bone invariably forms an 
excellent basis for a fight. 

To make no bones about the matter. To do 
it, say it, etc., without hesitation; to offer no 
opposition, present no difficulty or scruple. 
Dice are called "bones," and the Fr. flatter le 
de (to mince the matter) is the opposite of our 
expression. To make no bones of a thing is 
not to flatter, or "make much of," or humour 
the dice in order to show favour. Hence, 
without more bones. Without further scruple 
or objection, 

Bone-lace. Lace woven on bobbins made 
of trotter-bones. 

Bone-shaker. An "antediluvian," dilapi- 
dated four-wheel cab; also an early type of 
bicycle in use before rubber tyres, chain drive, 
spring saddles, etc., were thought of. 
Boney (bo' ni). "If you aren't a good boy 
Boney will catch you" was an old threat of 
the short-tempered nurse, Boney being 
Napoleon Bonaparte, whose threatened in- 
vasion of England was a real scare in the early 
19th century. 

Bonfire. Originally a bone-fire, that is, a fire 
made of bones', see the Festyvall of 1493, 




printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1515: "In 
the worship of St. John, the people . . . made 
three manner of fires : one was of clean bones 
and no wood, and that is called a bonefire; 
another of clean wood and no bones, and that 
is called a wood-fire . . . and the third is made 
of wood and bones, and is called l St. John's 
fire*"; and: 

In some parts of Lincolnshire . . . they make 
fires in the public streets . . . with bones of oxen, 
sheep, etc. . . . heaped together . . . hence came 
the origin of bon-fires. LELAND (1552). 

Bonhomie (bon' o me) (Fr.). Kindness, good 
nature; free and easy manners; the quality of 
being "a good fellow." 

The other redeeming qualities of the Meccan are 
his courage, his bonhomie, his manly suavity of 
manners. R. F. BURTON, El-Medmah. 

Bonhomme. A French peasant. See JACQUES 


Boniface. A sleek, good-tempered, jolly 
landlord. From Farquhar's comedy of The 
Beaux Stratagem (1707). 

St. Boniface. The apostle of Germany, an 
Anglo-Saxon whose original name was 
Wmifrid or Winfrith. (680-750). 

St. Boniface's cup. An extra cup of wine; 
an excuse for an extra glass. Pope Boniface, 
we are told in the Ebrietatis Encomium, 
instituted an indulgence to those who drank 
his good health after grace, or the health of the 
Pope of the time being. This probably refers 
to Boniface VI, an abandoned profligate who 
was elected Pope by the mob in 896 and held 
the position for only fifteen days. The only 
Saint Boniface to be Pope was Boniface I, who 
died in 422. 

Bonne Bouche (Fr.). A delicious morsel; a 

Bonnet. A player at a gaming-table, or 
bidder at an auction, to lure others to play or 
bid, so called because he blinds the eyes of his 
dupes, just as if he had struck their bonnet 
over their eyes. 

Braid bonnet. The old Scottish cap, made 
of milled woollen, without seam or lining. 

Glengarry bonnet. The Highland bonnet, 
which rises to a point in front. 

He has a green bonnet. Has failed in trade. 
In France it used to be customary, even in the 
17th century, for bankrupts to wear a green 
bonnet (cloth cap). 

He has a bee in his bonnet. See BEE. 

Bipnnet lairds. Local magnates or petty 
squires of Scotland, who wore the braid 
bonnet, like the common people. 

Bonnet-piece. A gold coin of James V of 
Scotland, the king's head on which wears a. 

Bonnet Rouge. The red cap of Liberty 
worn by the leaders of the French revolution. 
It is the emblem of Red Republicanism. 

Bonnie Dundee. John Graham, of Claver- 
house, Viscount Dundee. Born about 1649, 
he became a noted soldier in the Stuart cause, 

and was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 

Bonnivard. See CHILLON. 

Bonny-clabber. Sour buttermilk used as a 
drink. (Irish, bainne, milk; claba, thick or 

It is against my freehold, my inheritance, 

My Magna Charta, cor Icetificat, 

To drink such balderdash or bonny-clabber! 

Give me good wine! 

BEN JONSON: The New Inn, I, i. 

Bono Johnny. John Bull is so called in the East 

Bonus. Something "extra"; something over 
and ab9ve what was expected, due, or earned; 
something "to the good" (Lat. bonus, good). 
An extra dividend paid to shareholders put of 
surplus profits is called a bonus; so is the 
portion of profits distributed to certain 
insurance-policy-holders; and also as was 
the custom in the case of Civil Servants and 
others a payment made to clerks, workmen, 
etc., over and above that stipulated for to meet 
some special contingency that had been un- 
provided for when the rate was fixed. 

Bonze. The name given by Europeans to the 
Buddhist clergy of the Far East, particularly of 
Japan. In China the name is given to the 
priests of the Fohists. 

Booby. A spiritless fool, who suffers himself 
to be imposed upon. 

Ye bread-and-butter rogues, do ye run from me? 
An my side would give me leave, I would so hunt ye, 
Ye porridge-gutted slaves, ye veal-broth boobies! 

Humorous Lieutenant, in, 7. 

The player who comes in last in whist- 
drives, etc.; the lowest boy in the class. 

Also a species of Gannet, whose chief 
characteristic is that it is so tame that it can 
often be taken by hand. 

A booby will never make a hawk. The 

booby, that allows itself to be fleeced by other 
birds, will never become a bird of prey itself. 

To beat the booby. A sailors' term for warm- 
ing the hands by striking them under the 

Booby-prize. The prize often one of a 
humorous or worthless kind given to the 
"booby" at card parties, children's parties, 
etc., i.e. to the player who makes the lowest 

Booby trap. A trap set to discomfit an 
unsuspecting victim. e.g. among children, 
placing a book on top of a door to fall on 
whoever opens the door; in war, attaching an 
explosive charge to the door so that whoever 
opens it will be killed. 

Boogie-woogie (boo' gi woo' gi). A style of 
piano playing of obscure origin, but probably 
developed among self-taught Negroes in 
Chicago during the early 1920s. Consists in 
maintaining a heavy repetitive rjattern in the 
bass over which the right hand improvises at 

Boojum. See SNARK. 

Book (A.S. boc; Dan. beiike; Ger. buche, a 




beech-tree). Beech-bark was employed for 
carving names before the invention of printing. 
Here on my trunk's surviving frame, 
Carved many a long-forgotten name. . . . 
As love's own altar, honour me: 
Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree. 

CAMPBELL: Beech Tree's Petition. 

In betting the book is the record of bets made 
by the bookmaker with different people on 
different horses. 

In whist, bridge, etc., the book is the first 
six tricks taken by either side. The whole 
pack of cards is sometimes called a "book" 
short for "the Devil's picture-book." 

Bell, book and candle. See BELL. 

Beware of a man of one book. Never 

attempt to controvert the statement of anyone 
in his own special subject. A shepherd who 
cannot read will know more about sheep than 
the wisest bookworm. This caution is given 
by St. Thomas Aquinas. 

He is in my books, or in my good books. The 

former is the older form; both mean to be m 
favour. The word book was at one time used 
more widely, a single sheet, or even a list being 
called a book. To be in my books is to be on 
my list of friends. 

I was so much in his books, that at his decease 
he left me his lamp. ADDISON. 

He is in my black (or bad) books. In dis- 
favour. See BLACK BOOKS. 

On the books. On the list of a club, the list 
of candidates, the list of voters, or any official 
list. At Cambridge University they say "on 
the boards." 

Out of my bo9ks. Not in favour; no longer 
on my list of friends. 

The Battle of the Books. The Boyle contro- 
versy (#.v.). 

That does not suit my book. Does not 
accord with my arrangements. The reference 
is to betting-books, in which the bets are 
formally entered. 

The Book of Books. The Bible; also called 
simply "the Book," or "the good Book." 

The Book of Life, or of Fate. In Bible 
language, a register of the names of those who 
are to inherit eternal life (Phil iv, 3; Rev. xx, 

To book it. To take down an order; to 
make a memorandum; to enter in a book. 

To bring him to book. To make him prove 
his words; to call him to account. Make him 
show that what he says accords with what is 
written down in the indentures, the written 
agreement, or the book which treats of the 

To kiss the book. See Kiss. 

To know one's book. To know one's own 
interest; to know on which side one's bread is 
buttered. Also, to have made up one's mind. 

To speak by the book. To speak with 
meticulous exactness. To speak literatim) 
according to what is m the book. 

To speak like a book. To speak with great 
pjecision and accuracy; to be full of informa- 
tion. Often used of a pedant. 

To speak without book. To speak without 
authority; from memory only, without con- 
sulting or referring to the book. 

To take one's name off the books. To 

withdraw from a club. In the passive voice 
it means to be excluded, or no longer ad- 
missible to enjoy the benefits of the institution. 
See ON THE BOOKS, above. 

Book-binding. A craft practised since the 
early Middle Ages when books had become 
made up of leaves instead of being in a long 
roll. Most styles of binding are known by 
the names of their practitioners, but there are 
others which are known either from the type 
of design or the name of the patron com- 
missioning them, e.g. : 

Aldme. A simple design including a few 
graceful arabesques, the style in which the 
Venetian printer Aldus Manutius (fl. 1494- 
1515) had his wares bound for the general 

Blind-tooled. A binding on which the 
ornament is colourless, i e. the tools are 
pressed direct on to the leather without gold. 

CanevarL A style combining gilt arabesques 
with a cameo, usually of some classical subject, 
impressed in the centre in blind. Generally 
ascribed to the Italian Demetno Canevan, 
first half 16th century. 

Cathedrale. Bindings executed during the 
second quarter of the 19th century. Under 
the influence of the Gothic Revival in France 
and England, the designs resemble the tracery 
of church windows, hence reliures a la 

Club. Highly ornamental bindings exe- 
cuted at the "Club Bindery," the private 
workshop organized by the Grolier Club, New 
York, during the first decade of the 20th 

Cottage. A style peculiar to England in the 
later 17th century; the frame-work in the gilt 
design includes at top and bottom a triangle 
resembling a low gable. Associated with the 
name of Samuel Mearne, a stationer who 
(though not himself a binder) was binder by 
appointment to Charles II. 

Dentelle. (Fr.) "Lace" style, so called 
from the fact that the design in gilt was of an 
intricacy and delicacy which resembled lace. 
Associated particularly with the Padeloup 
family of binders in France, first half 18th 

Dos a Dos (Fr.). Back to back. Two 
books share three boards between them and 
open on opposite sides. Popular in the 17th 
century for binding books in pairs, such as the 
Old and New Testaments. 

Fanfare (Fr,, pomp.). Very rich bindings 
with an intricate pattern in gold over the whole, 
working out to the edges from a small oval in 
the centre which was either left plain or 
contained the coat of arms of the owner. 
Particularly brilliant exponent was the French 
binder Nicolas Eye, late 16th century. 

Grolier. Bindings in the Italian arabesque 
style done for the French statesman and 
bibliophile Jean de Grolier (1479-1565). 
They all bear on the upper cover the lettering 
/. Grolerii et amicorum. 

Harleian. A style of binding used upon the 

Booking office 



great collection of Robert Harley, first Earl 
of Oxford (1661-1724). Usually red leather, 
with an ornate diamond-shaped pattern in the 
centre, surrounded by a broad rectangular 

Little Gidding. Nicholas Ferrar set up an 
English Protestant Nunnery at Little Gidding 
(Huntingdon) in 1625, at which binding was 
practised by all the inmates. Many bindings, 
particularly embroidered ones, are ascribed to 
them, but without any certainty. 

Lyonese. An intricate pattern of strapwork 
in g9ld is supplemented and heightened by 
staining the leather or inlaying it with another 
colour. As these bindings, which date from 
the second half of the 16th century, are mostly 
found on books printed at Lyons, they are so 
called, though it is not certain that they were 
done there. 

Macabre. Bindings executed for Henry III 
of France after the death of the Princesse de 
Cleves, and using tears, skulls and bones 
tooled in silver to express his grief. 

Pointille. In this style all gilt lines are 
broken into a series of little dots to give a 
shimmering brilliance. The best exponent 
was the French binder Le Gascon, mid- 17th 

Roxburghe. Quarter bound in brown 
leather with crimson paper sides, the style 
chosen by the Roxburghe Club, am association 
of wealthy and noble bibliophiles at the 
beginning of the 19th century. 

Sombre. Bindings in black leather tooled 
entirely in blind, a style affected in the 17th 
century in England for religious works. 

Wotton. Bindings executed for Thomas 
Wotton, called the English Grolier because, 
copying the French collector, he had Thomae 
Wottoni et amicorum stamped on his books. 
Mid- 16th century. 

Full bound. Bound fully in leather. 

Half bound. Leather back and corners, 
with cloth or paper sides. 

Quarter bound. Leather back with cloth or 
paper sides. 

Booking office. In coaching days, when 
accommodation in the stage coaches was very 
limited, the traveller had to enter his name in a 
book kept in the office of the coaching inn, 
and wait his turn for a place in the coach. 
For the first few years after the introduction of 
railways all tickets were written out and entered 
up in their books by the clerks in the booking 

Book-keeper. Clerk who keeps the accounts 
ui merchant's offices, etc. 

Book-keeping is the system of keeping 
debtor and creditor accounts in books pro- 
vided for the purpose, either by single or by 
double entry. In the first named each debit or 
credit is entered only once into the ledger, 
either as a debit or credit item, under the 
customer's or salesman's name; in double 
entry, each item is entered twice into the 
ledger, once on the debit and once on the 
credit side. 

Waste book. A book in which items are 
not posted under heads, but as each transac- 
tion occurred. 


Day book. A book m which are set down 
the debits and credits which occur day by 
day. These are ultimately "posted" in the 
ledger (q.v.). 

Bookmaker. A professional betting man 
who makes a "book" (see above) on horse- 
races, etc. Also called a bookie. 

Bookworm. One always poring over books ; 
so called in allusion to the maggot that eats 
holes in books, and lives both in and on their 

Boom (boom). A sudden and great demand of 
a thing, with a corresponding rise in its price. 
This usage of the word seems to have arisen in 
America, probably with allusion to the sudden- 
ness and rush with which the shares "go off,'* 
the same word being used for the rush of a 
ship under press of sail. The word arises from 
the sound of booming or rushing water, and 
the sound made by the bittern is known as 

The boom was something wonderful. Everybody 
bought, everybody sold. MARK TWAIN: Life on the 
Mississippi, ch. 57. 

It is also used of a period of rising prices and 
prosperity, general or particular. 

Also a spar on board ship, or the chained 
line of spars, balks of timber, etc., used as a 
barrier to protect harbours, is the Dutch 
boom, meaning a tree or pole, our beam. 

Boom-passenger. A convict on board a 
transport ship, who was chained to the* 
boom when made to take his daily exercise. 

Boomer. The Australian name, in use since 
the early 19th century, for their national 
animal, the kangaroo. It is possibly of 
Tasmanian aboriginal derivation. 

Boon Companion. A convivial or congenial 
companion. A ban vivant is one fond of good 
living. "Who leads a good life is sure to live 
well." (Fr. bon, good.) 

Boondoggling. An expression used in the 
early 1930s to denote useless spending, 
usually referring to the spending of money by 
the U.S. government to combat the depression. 

Boot. An instrument of torture made of four 
pieces of narrow board nailed together, of a 
length to fit the leg. The leg being placed 
therein, wedges were inserted till the victim 
confessed or fainted. 

All your empirics could never do the like cure 
upon the gout as the rack in England or your Scotch 
boots. MARSTON: The Malcontent. 

Boot and saddle. The order to cavalry for 
mounting. It is a corruption of the Fr. 
boute selle y put on the saddle, and has nothing 
to do with boots. 

I measure five feet ten inches without my 
boots. The meaning is obvious but there is 
also an allusion to the chopine (q.v.) or 
high-heeled boot, worn at one time to increase 
the stature. 

Like old boots. Slang for vigorously; "like 
anything." "I was working like old boots" 
means "I was doing my very utmost." 

Seven-leagued boots. The boots worn by 




the giant in the fairy tale, called The Seven- 
leagued Soots. A pace taken in them 
measured, seven leagues. 

The boot is on the other foot The case is 
altered; you and I have changed places, and 
whereas before / appeared to be in the wrong 
you are now shown to be. 

The order of the boot. "The sack"; notice 
of dismissal from one's employment. 

To go to bed in his boots. To be very tipsy. 

To have one's heart in one's boots. To be 

utterly despondent; a humorous way of saying 
to be as dbnvz-hearted, or /0w-spinted, as 

I wUl give you that to boot, i.e. in addition. 
The A.S. hot (Gothic bo fa) means advantage, 
good, profit; as in Milton's "Alas, what boots 
it with uncessant care" (Lycidas), Alas, what 
profit is it . . .? 

It also meant compensation paid for injury; 
reparation. Cp. HOUSE-BOTE. 

As anyone shall be more powerful ... or higher 
in degree, shall he the more deeply make boot 
for sin, and pay for every misdeed. 

Laws of King Ethelred. 

Bootless errand. An unprofitable or futile 

I sent him 
Bootless home and weather-beaten back. 

SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry JfV t in t 1. 

When bale is highest boot is nighest. See 

Boot-jack. See JACK. 

Boots. A servant at inns, etc., whose duty 
it is to clean the boots. Dickens has a Christ- 
mas Tale (1855) called The Boots of the Holly- 
tree Inn. 

The bishop with the shortest- period of 
service in the House of Lords, whose duty it is 
to read prayers, is colloquially known as the 
"Boots," perhaps because he walks into the 
House m a dead man's shoes or boots, i.e. he 
was not there till some bishop died and left a 

Bootes (bo oo' tez). Greek for "the plough- 
man"; the name of the constellation which 
contains the bright star, Arcturus. See 
ICAJRTUS. According to ancient mythology, 
Bootes invented the plough, to which he 
yoked two oxen, and at death, being taken to 
heaven with his plough and oxen, was made a 
constellation. Homer calls it "the wagoner," 
fe. the wagoner of "Charles's Wain," the 
Great Bear. 

Wide o'er the spacious regions of the north,. 
That see Bootes urge his tardy wain. 

THOMSON: Winter, 834. 

Booty. The spoils of war. 

Playing booty. A trick of dishonest jockeys 
appearing to use every effort to come in first, 
but really determined to lose the race. 

Mr. Kemble [in the Iron Chest] gave a slight touch 
of the jockey, and "played booty." He seemed to 
do justice to the play, but really ruined its success. 
George Colman the Younger. 

Booze. To drink steadily and continually. 
Though regarded as slang, this is the M.E. 
bousen, to drink deeply, probably connected 

with Dut. buizen^ and Ger. bousen, to drink 
to excess. Spenser uses the word in his 
description of Gluttony: 

Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat, 

And in his hand did beare a bouzing can, 
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat 
His drunken corse he scarse upholden can. 
Faerie Queens, I, iv, 22. 

Bor. A familiar term of address in East 
Anglia to a lad or young man; as, "Well, bor, 
I saw the mauther you spoke of" i.e. "Well, 
boy, I saw the lass. ..." It is connected with 
the Dut. boer, a farmer, and with -hour of 

Borachio (bo ra' cho). Originally a Spanish 
wine bottle made of goat-skin; hence a drunk- 
ard, one who fills himself with wine. 

A follower of Don John, in Much Ado About 
Nothing, is called Borachio; he thus plays upon 
his own name: 

I will like a true drunkard [borachio}, utter all to 
thee. Act iii, 5. 

Borak or Al Borak (bor'ak) (the lightning). 
The animal brought by Gabriel to carry 
Mohammed to the seventh heaven, and itself 
received into Paradise. It had the face of a 
man, but the cheeks of a horse; its eyes were 
like jacinths, but brilliant as the stars; it had 
the wings of an eagle, spoke with the voice of 
a man, and glittered all over with radiant light. 

Bordar. In Anglo-Saxon England, a villein 
of the lowest rank who did menial service for 
his lord in return for his cottage; the bordars, 
or bordarii, were the labourers, and the word is 
the Med. Lat. bordarius^ a cottager. 

Border, The. The frontier of England and 
Scotland, which, from the llth to the 15th 
century, was the field of constant forays, and 
a most fertile source of ill blood between 
North and South Britain. 
March, march, Ettnck and Teviotdale. 

Why the deil dinna ye march forward in order? 
March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale 
All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the border. 
SCOTT: The Monastery. 

Border Minstrel. Sir Walter Scott (1771- 
1832). because he sang of the border. 

Border States, The. The five "slave" 
states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Ken- 
tucky, and Missouri) which lay next to the 
"free states" were so called in the American 
Civil War, 1861-65. 

Bore. A person who bestows his tedious- 
ness on you, one who wearies you with his 
prate, his company, or his solicitations. 

The derivation of the word is uncertain; in 
the 18th century it was used as an equivalent 
for ennui\ hence, for one who suffers from 
ennui., and afterwards for that which, or one 
who, causes ennui. 

In racing terminology to bore is to ride so 
that another horse is thrust or pushed off the 
course, a sense in which it is also used of 
boats in rowing; in pugilistic language it is to 
force one's opponent on to the ropes of the 
ring by sheer weight. 

Bore of the Severn. In the Severn and other 
river estuaries certain winds cause a bore, or 
great tidal wave that rushes up the channel 




with violence and noise. In England it is 
best known in the Severn, Trent, Wye, and 
Solway Firth, but bores also occur in the 
Ganges, Indus, and Brahmapootra, in which 
last the wave rises to some 12 feet. 

Boreas (bor' e as). In Greek mythology, the 
god of the north wind, and the north wind 
itself. He was the son of Astraeus, a Titan, 
and Eros, the mprning, and lived in a cave of 
Mount Haemus, in Thrace. 
Hence boreal, of or pertaining to the north. 

In radiant streams, 

Bright over Europe, bursts the Boreal morn. 
THOMSON: Autumn, 98. 

Borgias (bor'jaz). A glass of wine with the 
Borgias was a great and sometimes fatal 
honour, for Caesar and Lucretia Borgia, 
children of Pope Alexander VI, were reputed 
to be adept in ridding themselves of foes or 
unwanted friends by inducing them to respond 
to pledges in poisoned wine. 

Borley or bawley (baw' li). The local name 
for a fishing-boat at the mouth of the Thames. 

Born. Born in the purple (a translation of Gr. 
porphyrogenitus). The infant of royal parents 
in opposition to one born in the gutter, or the 

child of beggars. This refers to the chamber 
lined with porphyry by one of the Byzantine 
empresses for her accouchement, and has 
nothing to do with the purple robes of royalty. 

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth. 

Born to good luck; born with hereditary 
wealth. The reference is to the usual gift of 
a silver spoon by the godfather or godmother 
of a child. The lucky child does not need to 
wait for the gift, for it is bora with it in its 
mouth or inherits it at birth. A phrase with 
a similar meaning is born under a lucky star; 
this, of course, is from astrology. 

In all my born days. Ever since I was born ; 
in all my experience. 

Not born yesterday. Not to be taken in; 
worldly wise. 

Poets are born, not made. One can never 
be a poet by mere training or education if one 
has been born without the * 'divine afflatus." 
A translation of the Latin phrase Poeta nas- 
citur nonfit, of which an extension is Nascimur 
poet&fimus orator 'es, we are born poets, we are 
made orators. 

Borough (bu' ro). There are several kinds of 
civic government classed under this term. 

A Municipal Borough is a town with a fully 
organized municipal government with a mayor 
and corporation, usually possessing certain 
privileges granted by royal charter. 

A Parliamentary Borough is one that sends 
at least one member to Parliament. 

A Rotten or Pocket Borough was one of the 

small boroughs (sometimes consisting of but 
three or four electors) controlled by a wealthy 
or influential landowner, who as often as not 
sold the right of sitting in Parliament as 
representative of this borough for some 
thousands of pounds. These men were 
frequently called Borough-mongers. 

The Borough, used as a proper name, is 

applied to Southwark. It is also the title of a 
collection of poetical tales by George Crabbe 
(1810) about the Suffolk borough of Aldeburgh. 
One of these tales forms the theme of Peter 
Grimes, an opera by Benjamin Britten. 

The word is sometimes spelled "burgh" 
and sometimes "boro" but it is always pro- 
nounced as above. 

Borough English. A custom by which real 
estate passes to the youngest instead of the 
eldest son. It is of English, as opposed to 
French, origin, and was so called to distinguish 
it from the Norman custom. 

If the father has no son, then the youngest 
daughter is sole heiress. If neither wife, son, 
nor daughter, the youngest brother inherits;; 
if no brother, the youngest sister; if neither 
brother nor yet sister, then the youngest next 
of kin. See CRADLE-HOLDING, and cp. 

The custom of Borough English abounds in Kent, 
Sussex, Surrey, the neighbourhood of London, and 
Somerset. In the Midlands it is rare, and north of 
the Humber ... it does not seem to occur. F. POL- 
LOCK: Macmillan's Magazine, xlvi (1882). 

Borowe. See BORROW. 
Borrow. Originally a noun (A.S. borg) 
meaning a pledge or security, the modern' 
sense of the verb depended on the actual giving 
in pledge of something as security for the loan; 
a security is not now essential in a borrowing 
transaction, but the idea that the loan is the 
property of the lender and must be returned 
some day is always present. The noun sense 
is seen in the old oath St. George to borowe, 
which is short for "I take St. George as- 
pledge," or "as witness**; also in: 

Ye may retain as borrows my two priests. SCOTT: 
Ivanhoe, ch. xxxiii. 

Borrowed or borrowing days. The lastf 
three days of March are said to be "borrowed! 
from April," as is shown by the proverb in 
Ray's Collection "March borrows three 
days of April, and they are ill." The following 
is an old rhyme on the same topic: 
March said to Aperill, 
I see 3 hoggs [hoggets, sheep} upon a hill: 
And if you'll lend me dayes 3 
I'll find a way to make them dee [die]. 
The first o' them was wind and weet, 
The second o' them was snaw and sleet, 
The third o' them, was sic a freeze 
It froze the birds' nebs to the trees, 
But when the Borrowed Days were gane 
The 3 silly hoggs came hirpling [limping} hame. 
February also (in Scotland) has its "bor- 
lowed" days. They are the 12th, 13th and 
14th, which are said to be borrowed from 
January. If these prove stormy the year will 
be favoured with good weather; but if fine, the 
year will be foul and unfavourable. They are 
called by the Scots Faoilteach? and hence 
faoilteach means execrable weather. 

Borrowed time, to live on. To continue to 
live after every reasonable presumption is that 
one should be dead, z.e.livrng on time borrowed 
from Death. 

Borstall (A.S. beork, a hill, and steall, place, or 
stigol, stile). A narrow roadway up the steep 
ascent of hills or downs. The word has given 
the name to the village of Borstal, near 
Rochester (Kent), and hence to the Borstal 

Bosey 134 

system, a method of treating youthful offenders 
against the law by technical instruction and 
education in order to prevent their drifting 
into the criminal classes. The first reforma- 
tory of this kind was instituted at Borstal in 

Bosey (Austr.). A cricket term for a googly 
(<7.v.) and so called from the English bowler 
B. J. T. Bosanquet who toured Australia in 
1 903-04. The term was also applied to a single 
bomb dropped from a plane, in World War II. 

Bosh. A Persian word meaning worthless. 
It was popularized by James Moner in his 
novel Ayesha (1834), and other eastern 

I always like to read old Darwin's Love of the 
Plants', bosh as it is in a scientific point of view. 
KINGSLEY: Two Years Ago, ch. x. 

Bosky. On the verge of drunkenness. This 
is a slang term, and it is possibly connected 
with the legitimate bosky meaning bushy, or 
covered with thickets, as in Shakespeare's : 
And with each end of the blue bow dost crown 
My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down. 

Tempest, iv, i, 81. 

As " bosky acres " were overshadowed or 
obscured, so can a " bosky man " be said to be. 

Bosom Friend. A very dear friend. Nathan 
says, "It lay in his bosom, and was unto him 
as a daughter" (2 Sam. xii, 3). Bosom friend, 
ami de coeur. St. John is represented in the 
New Testament as the "bosom fnend" of 

Bosom sermons. Sermons committed to 
memory and learnt by heart; not extempore 
ones or those delivered from notes. 

The preaching from "bosom sermons," or from 
writing, being considered a lifeless practice before 
the Reformation. 

BLUNT: Reformation in England, p. 179. 

Bosporus (bos'porus) (incorrectly written 
Bosphorus) is a Greek compound meaning 
"the ford of the ox," or "Oxford.** Legend 
says that Zeus greatly loved lo; he changed 
her into a white cow or heifer from fear of 
Hera, to flee from whom lo swam across the 
strait, which was thence called bos poros, the 
passage of the cow. Hera discovered the 
trick, and sent a gadfly to torment lo, who was 
made to wander, in a state of frenzy, from land 
to land. The wanderings of lo were a 
favourite subject of story with the ancients. 
Ultimately, the persecuted Argive princess 
found rest on the banks of the Nile. 

Boss, a master, is the Dut. baas, head of the 
household. Hence the great man, chief, an 

The word was originally more widely used 
in the United States than in England, it having 
been attached to political leaders, financial 
magnates, etc., who generally by dubious 
methods seek to obtain a preponderating 
influence. Hence boss-rule, and the verb to 
boss, which has become common in England 

Boss-eyed. Slang for having one eye 
injured, or a bad squint, or for having only 
one eye in all. Hence, boss one's shot, to miss 
one's aim, as a person with a defective eye 


might be expected to do; and a boss, a bad 
shot. Boss-backed, a good old word for 
"hump-backed," is in no way connected with 
this. Boss here is a protuberance or promin- 
ence, like the bosses on a bridle or a shield. 

Boston Tea-party. An incident leading up to 
the American War of Independence. The 
British Parliament had passed laws which 
favoured the London East India Company at 
the expense of American traders. Three 
cargoes of tea which arrived at Boston Har- 
bour in 1773, shortly after the legislation, were 
thrown overboard as a protest by a party of 
colonists dressed as Indians. This act of 
defiance is known as the Boston Tea-party. 

Botanomancy (bof an 6 man' si) Divination 
by leaves. One method was by writing 
sentences on leaves which were exposed to the 
wind, the answer being gathered from those 
which were left; another was through the 
crackling made by the leaves of various plants 
when thrown on the fire or crushed in the 

Botany Bay. An extensive inlet in New South 
Wales, discovered by Captain Cook in 1770. 
It was the first place of his landing upon 
Australian soil, and Cook himself thus 
named it on account of the great variety of 
new plants found there. Botany Bay was 
wrongly applied as a name of the convict settle- 
ment established in 1788 at Sydney Cove. In 
contemporary parlance the name was applied 
not only to New South Wales but even to the 
whole of Australia. 

Bothie (both' I). An Irish or Gaelic word for 
a hut or cottage, The bothie system is a custom 
common in Scotland of housing the unmarried 
menservants attached to a farm in a large, 
one-roomed bothie. 

The bothie system prevails, more or less, in the 
eastern and north-eastern districts. J. BEGG, D.D. 

The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich (1848) is 
a long hexameter poem by Arthur Hugh 

Botley Assizes. The joke is to ask a Botley 
man, "When are the assizes coming on?'* 
The reference is to the tradition that the men of 
Botley once hanged a man because he could 
not drink so deep as his neighbours. 

Bo-tree. The pipal tree, or Ficus religiosa, 
of India, allied to the banyan, and so called 
from Pah Bodhi, perfect knowledge, because 
it is under one of these trees that Gautama 
attained enlightenment and so became the 
Buddha. At the ruined city of Anuradhapura 
in Ceylon is a bo-tree that is said to have been 
grown from a cutting sent by King Asoka in 
288 B.C. 

Bottle. The accepted commercial size of a wine 
bottle is one holding 261 fluid ounces per 
reputed quart. Large bottles are named as 
follows : 

Magnum . . holding 2 ordinary bottles. 

D ouble-magnum 

or Jeroboam 4 

Rehoboam , . 
Methuselah . . 
Salmanazar . . 






A three-bottle man. A toper who can drink 
three bottles of port at a sitting. 

Brought up on the bottle. Said of a baby 
which is artificially fed instead of being nursed 
at the breast. 

Looking for a needle in a bottle of hay, or in a 
haystack. Looking for a very small article 
amidst a mass of other things. Bottle is a 
diminutive of the Fr. botte, a bundle; as botte 
de foin, a bundle of hay. 
Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. 
Midsummer Night's Dream, iv, 1. 

To bottle up one's feelings, emotions, etc. 

To suppress them; to hold them well under 

To put new wine into old bottles. A saying 
founded on Matt, ix, 17; typical of incongruity. 
New wine expands as it matures. If put in a 
new skin (bottle) the skin expands with it; 
if in an old skin, when the wine expands the 
skin bursts. 

Bottle-chart. A chart of ocean surface 
currents made from the track of sealed bottles 
thrown from ships into the sea. 

Bottle-holder. One who gives moral but 
not material support. The allusion is to 
boxing or prize-fighting, where the attendant 
on each combatant, whose duty it is to wipe 
off blood, refresh him with water, and do other 
services to encourage his man to persevere and 
win, is called "the bottle-holder." 

Lord Palmerston considered himself the bottle- 
holder of oppressed States ... He was the stead- 
fast partisan of constitutional liberty in every part 
of the world. The Times. 

Bottle-washer. Chief agent; the principal 
man employed by another; a factotum. The 
full phrase which usually is applied more or 
less sarcastically is "chief cook and bottle- 

Bottled moonshine. Social and benevolent 
schemes, such as Utopia, Coleridge's Pantiso- 
cracy, the dreams of Owen, Fourier, St. Simon, 
the New Republic, and so on. 

The idea was probably suggested by Swift's 
Laputan philosopher, in Gulliver's Travels, 

Had been eight years upon a project of extracting 
sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put 
into phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm 
the air in raw inclement summers. 

Bottom. In nautical language the keel of a 
ship, that part of the hull which is below the 
waves; hence, the hull itself, and hence 
extended to mean the whole ship, especially in 
such phrases as goods imported in British 
bottoms or in foreign bottoms. 

A vessel is said to have a full bottom when 
the lower half of the hull is so disposed as to 
allow large stowage, and a sharp bottom when 
it is capable of speed. 

Never venture all in one bottom i.e. "do 
not put all your eggs into one basket," has 
allusion to the marine use of the word. 

My ventures are not in one bottom trusted. 

SHAKESPEARE: Merchant of Venice, i, 1. 

At bottom. Radically, fundamentally: as, 
the young prodigal lived a riotous life, but was 
good at bottom, or below the surface. 

Talking of a very respectable author who had 

married a printer's devil, Dr. Johnson told us ... 
"She did not disgrace him; the woman had a bottom 
of good sense." The word bottom thus introduced 
was so ludicrous that most of us could not forbear 
tittering and laughing. . . . Looking awful to make 
us feel how he could impose restraint ... he slowly 
pronounced: "I say the woman was fundamentally 
sensible." We all sat composed as at a funeral. 
BOSWELL'S Johnson. 

At the bottom. At the base or root. 
Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. 
RUSKIN: True and Beautiful, p. 426. 

From the bottom of my heart. Without 

If one of the parties ... be content to forgive 
from the bottom of his heart all that the other hath 
trespassed against him. Prayer Book. 

He was at the bottom of it. He really 

instigated it, or prompted it. 

To have no bottom. To be unfathomable; 
to be unstable. 

To get to the bottom of the matter. To 

ascertain the entire truth; to bolt a matter to 
its bran. 

To knock the bottom out of anything. See 


To stand on one's own bottom. To be 

independent. "Every tub must stand on its 
own bottom." 

To touch bottom. To reach the lowest 

A horse of good bottom means of good 
stamina, good foundation. 

Bottom the Weaver. A man who fancies he 
can do everything, and do it better than any- 
one else. Shakespeare has drawn him as 
profoundly ignorant, brawny, mock heroic, and 
with an overflow of self-conceit. He is in one 
part of Midsummer Night's Dream represented 
with an ass's head, and Titania, queen of the 
fairies, under a spell, caresses him as an 

The name is very appropriate, as one mean- 
ing of bottom is a ball of thread used in weaving, 
etc. Thus in Clark's Heraldry we read, 
"The coat of Badland is argent, three bottoms 
in fess gules, the thread or," 

Bottomless Pit, The. Hell is so called in 
the book of Revelation, xx, 1. The expression 
had previously been used by Coverdale in 
Jobxxxvi, 16. 

William Pitt was humorously called the 
bottomless Pitt, in allusion to his remarkable 

Bottomry. A nautical term implying a 
contract by which in return for money ad- 
vanced to the owners a ship, or bottom (#.v.), 
is, in a manner, mortgaged. If the vessel is 
lost the lender is not repaid; but if it completes 
its voyage he receives both principal and 
Boudicca. The preferred form of Boadicea 

Boudoir. Properly speaking, a room for 
sulking in (Fr. bouder, to sulk). When the 
word was introduced into England in the last 
quarter of the 18th century it was as often 

Bought and Sold 



applied to a man's sanctum as to a woman's 
retiring room; now, however, it is used only 
for a private apartment where a lady may 
retire, receive her intimate friends, etc. 
Bought and Sold, or Bought, Sold, and Done 
For. Ruined, done for, outwitted. 
Jocky of Norfolk, be not too bold, 
For Diccon, thy master, is bought and sold. 

Richard III, v, 3. 

It* would make a man mad as a buck to be so 
bought and sold. Comedy of Errors, iii, 1. 

Bouillabaisse (boo' ya has). A soup, for 
which Marseilles is celebrated, made of fish 
boiled with herbs in water or white wine. 
Boulangism (boo lonj' izm). This was a sort of 
political frenzy that swept over France in 
1886-87. General Boulanger (1837-91) was a 
smart soldier who, in 1886, was app9inted 
minister of war. By genuine reforms in the 
army, but more by a spectacular display of his 
handsome person on a fine horse at reviews, 
he won the hearts and stirred the imagination 
of the Paris mob, who cried that he was the one 
man in France to retrieve the glories lost in the 
disastrous Franco-Prussian war. But Bou- 
langer was really a man of straw, played on by 
all the reactionary parties in France, and after 
sweeping the country in a wave of patriotism 
and xenophobia, the Boulangist movement 
died out from lack of any man to lead it. 
Boulanger fled to exile, and eventually com- 
mitted suicide in Brussels. 
Boulle (bool). A kind of marquetry in which 
brass, gold, or enamelled metal is inlaid into 
wood or tortoise-shell, named after Andre 
Charles Boulle (1642-1732), the celebrated 
cabinet-maker who worked for Louis XIV on 
the decorations and furniture at Versailles. 

Bounce. Brag, swagger; boastful and men- 
dacious exaggeration. 

He speaks plain cannon, fire, and smoke, and bounce. 
SHAKESPEARE: King John, ii, 2. 

On the bounce. Ostentatiously swaggering. 
Trying to effect some object "on the bounce" 
is trying to attain one's end through making an 
impression that is unwarrantable. 

That's a bouncer. A gross exaggeration, a 
braggart's lie. A bouncing lie is a thumping 
lie, and a bouncer is a thumper. 

Bounds, Beating the. An old custom, still kept 
up in a few English parishes, of going round 
the parish boundaries on Holy Thursday, or 
Ascension Day. The school-children, accom- 
panied by the clergymen and parish officers, 
walked through their parish from end to end; 
the boys were switched with willow wands all 
along the lines of boundary, the idea being to 
teach them to know the bounds of their parish. 

Many practical jokes were played even during the 
first quarter of the nineteenth century, to make the 
boys remember the delimitations: such as "pumping 
them," pouring water clandestinely on them from 
house windows, beating them with thin rods, etc. 

Beating the bounds was called in Scotland 
Riding the marches (bounds), and in England 
the day is sometimes called gang-day. 

Bounder. To call a man a bounder was to 
stigmatize him as a vulgar, ill-mannered cad, 
an outsider, one who did not behave himself, 
especially where women are concerned. 


Bounty, The Mutiny of the. Much has been 
written and acted on the theme of this famous 
tragedy. In 1788 Captain William Bhgh was 
sent in command of H.M.S. Bounty to the 
Society Islands to collect vegetable products 
with a view to propagating them in the W. 
Indies. In April, 1789, his crew mutinied and 
Bhgh, with 1 8 loyal sailors, was set adrift in an 
open boat, ultimately landing in Timor, near 
Java. Meanwhile the crew of the Bounty 
reached Tahiti, whence nine of them, ac- 
companied by some native men and women, 
sailed to the uninhabited Pitcairn Island where 
they settled. Ten years later only one of the 
men, John Adams, was alive, but there were 
several women and children from whom the 
present inhabitants are descended. 

Bouquet. French for nosegay, bunch of 
flowers. The word is used in English also for 
the flavour or aroma of wine, a jewelled spray, 
and a large flight of rockets or of pheasants 
which have been driven by the beaters. 

Bourbon (boor 7 bon). The Bourbon Kings of 
France were Henry IV, Louis XIII, XIV, XV, 
and XVI (1589-1793), Louis XVIII and 
Charles X (1814-30). The family is so named 
from the seigniory of Bourbon, in the Bour- 
bonnais, in Central France, and is a branch of 
the Capet stock, through the marriage of 
Beatrix, heiress of the Bourbons, to Robert, 
Count of Clermont, sixth son of Louis IX, in 
1272. Henry IV was tenth in descent from 
Louis IX and the twentieth king to succeed him. 

Bourbons also reigned over Naples and the 
two Sicilies, and the present royal house of 
Spain is Bourbon, being descended from 
Philippe, Duke of Anjou, a grandson of Louis 
XIV, who became King of Spain in 1700. 

It was said of the Bourbons that they forgot 
nothing and learned nothing. 

In U.S.A. the term Bourbon is used for 
whisky made from Indian corn, sometimes with 
rye or malt added.' The name conies from 
Bourbon (pron. ber'bun) County, Kentucky, 
where the whisky was originally made. 
Bourgeois (Fr.). Our burgess; a member of 
the class between the "gentlemen" and the 
peasantry. It includes merchants, shop- 
keepers, and the so-called "middle class." 

In typography, bourgeois (pronounced bur- 
jois') is the name of a size of type between long 
primer and brevier. 

Bourgeoisie (Fr.). The merchants, manu- 
facturers, and master-tradesmen considered as 
a class. 

The Commons of England, the Tiers-Etat of 
France, the bourgeoisie of the Continent generally, 
are the descendants of this class {artisans] generally. 
MILL: Political Economy. 

In recent years, particularly since the Russian 
Revolution, when this class was held to be 
chiefly responsible for the continuance of 
privilege and for all sorts of abuses during the 
old regime and the early part of the new, the 
word bourgeoisie has been applied more 
particularly to the unimaginative, conventional 
and narrow-minded section of the middle 
Bouse. See BOOZE. 




Boustrapa. A nickname of Napoleon III ; in 
allusion to his unsuccessful attempts at a 
coup d'etat at Boulogne (1840) and 5/rasburg 
(1836) and the successful one at Paris (1851). 

Boustrophedon (boo strof e don). A method 
of writing found in early Greek inscriptions in 
which the lines run alternately from right to 
left and left to right, like the path of oxen in 
ploughing. (Gr. boustrepho, ox-turning.) 

Bouts-rimes (boo re 7 ma) (Fr. rhymed-endings). 
A parlour game which, in the 18th century, 
had a considerable vogue m literary circles as a 
test of skill. t A list of words that rhyme with 
one another is drawn up ; this is handed to the 
competitors, and they have to make a poem 
to the rhymes, each rhyme-word being kept 
in its place on the list. 

Bovey Coal. A lignite found at Bovey Tracy, 
in Devonshire. 

Bow (bo) (AS. boga; connected with the 
O.Teut. beguan, to bend.) 

Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed. 

Have everything ready before you begin. 

He has a famous bow up at the castle. Said 
of a braggart or pretender. 

He has two strings to his bow. Two means 
of accomplishing his object; if one fails, he can 
try the other. The allusion is to the custom 
of bowmen carrying a reserve string in case of 

To be too much of the bow-hand. To fail in 
a design; not be sufficiently dexterous. The 
bow-hand is the left hand; the hand which 
holds the bow. 

To draw a bow at a venture. To attack with 
a random remark; to make a random remark 
which may hit the truth. 

A certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote 
the King of Israel. 1 Kings, xxii, 34. 

To draw the longbow. To exaggerate. The 
longbow was the famous English weapon till 
gunpowder was introduced, and it is said that 
a good archer could hit between the fingers of 
a man's hand at a considerable distance, and 
could propel his arrow a mile. The tales told 
about longbow adventures, especially in the 
Robin Hood stones, fully justify the applica- 
tion of the phrase. 

To unstring the bow will not heal the wound 

(Ital.). Ren6 of Anjou, king of Sicily, on the 
death of his wife, Isabeau of Lorraine, adopted 
the emblem of a bow with the string broken, 
with the words given above for the motto, 
by which he meant, "Lamentation for the loss 
of his wife was but poor satisfaction/' 

Bow (bou). The fore-end of a boat or ship. 
(A.S. bog or boh, connected with Dan, bong, 
Icel, bogr, a shoulder.) 

On the bow. Within a range of 45 on one 
side or the other of the prow. 

Up in the bows, To be. To be thoroughly 

Bow Bells (bo). Born within sound of Bow 
bells. Said of a true cockney. St. Mary-le- 
Bow long had one of the most celebrated 

bell-peals in London. John Dun, mercer, 
gave in 1472 two tenements to maintain the 
ringing of Bow bell every night at nine o'clock, 
to direct travellers on the road to town; and in 
1520 William Copland gave a bigger bell for 
the purpose of "sounding a retreat from work." 
Bow Church, in Cheapside, is in the centre of 
the City. The interior of the church was 
totally destroyed in an air raid in 1941, but the 
tower remained almost unharmed though the 
bells were destroyed. 

Bow-catcher (bo). A corruption of "Beau 
catcher," a love-curl, termed by the French an 
accroche cceur. A love-curl worn by a man is 
a Bell-rope, i.e. a rope to pull the belles with. 

Bow-street Runners (bo). Detectives who 
scoured the country to find criminals, before 
the introduction of the police force. Bow 
Street, near Covent Garden, is where the 
principal London police-court stands. 

Bow-wow Word (bou wou). A word in imita- 
tion of the sound made, as hiss, cackle,, 
murmur, cuckoo, etc. Hence the bow-wow 
school, a term applied in ridicule to philologists 
who sought to derive speech and language from 
the sounds made by animals. The terms were 
first used by Max Muller. 

Bowden (bou' den). Not every man can be 
vicar of Bowden. Not everyone can occupy 
the first place. Bowden is one of the best 
livings in Cheshire. 

Bowdlerize (bou' dler Tz). To expurgate a 
book. Thomas Bowdler, in 1818, gave to the 
world an edition of Shakespeare's works "in 
which nothing is added to the original text; 
but those words and expressions are omitted 
which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a 
family." This was in ten volumes. Bowdler 
subsequently treated Gibbon's Decline and 
Fall in the same way. Hence the words 
Bowdlerist, Bowdlerizer, Bowdlensm, etc. 

Bowels of Mercy. Compassion, sympathy. 
The affections were at one time supposed to be 
the outcome of certain secretions or organs, as 
the bile, the kidneys, the heart, the head, the 
liver, the bowels, the spleen, and so on. 
Hence such words and phrases as melancholy 
(black bile); the Psalmist says that his reins* 
or kidneys, instructed him (Ps. x, 7), meaning 
his inward conviction; the head is the seat of 
understanding; the heart of affection and 
memory (hence "learning by heart*'), the 
bowels of mercy, the spleen of passion or 
anger, etc. 

His bowels yearned over, upon, or towards 
him. He felt a secret affection for him. 

Joseph made haste, for his bowels did yearn upon 
his brother. Gen. xliii, 30; see also Kings, iii, 26. 

Bower. A lady's private room. (A.S bur, 
a chamber.) 

But come to my bower, my Glasgerion, 

When all men are at rest: 
As I am a ladie true of my promise, 
Thou shalt bee a welcome guest. 

From the ballad Glasgerion. 

Hence, bower-woman, a lady's maid and 
Bower, the term used in euchre, is an 

Bower anchor 



entirely different word. It is bauer, a peasant 
or knave. 

But the hands that were played 

By that heathen Chinee, 
And the points that he made, 

Were quite frightful to see- 
Till at last he put down a right bower 
Which the same Nye had dealt unto me. 
BRET HARTE: Plain Language from Truthful James. 

The right bower is the knave of trumps; the 
left bower is the other knave of the same colour. 

Bower anchor. An anchor carried at the 
bow of a ship. There are two: one called the 
best bower, and the other the small bower. 

Starboard being the best bower, and port the small 
bower. SMYTH Sailor's Word-book. 

Bower of Bliss. In Spenser's Faerie Queene 
(Bk. II) the beautiful enchanted home of 

Bowie Knife (bo'i). A long, stout knife 
with a horn handle and a curved blade some 
15 m. long and H in. wide at the hilt, carried by 
hunters in the Western States of America. So 
called from Colonel James Bowie (d. 1836), 
one of the most daring characters m the States. 

Bowing (bou' ing). We uncover the head when 
we wish to salute anyone with respect; but the 
Jews, Turks, Siamese, etc., uncover their feet. 
The reason is this: With us the chief act of 
investure is crowning or placing a cap on the 
head; but in the East it is putting on the 
slippers. To take off our symbol of honour is 
to confess we are but "the humble servant" 
of the person whom we thus salute. 

Bowler Hat. This stiff, felt hat known in 
America as a Derby hat was the invention of 
a London hatter The Daily News for 
August 8th, 1868, says: "Mr. Bowler, of 15 
St. Swithin's Lane has, by a very simple 
contrivance invented a hat that is completely 
ventilated whilst, at the same time, the head is 
relieved of. the pressure experienced in wearing 
hats of the ordinary description." The last 
words apply to the hot and heavy top hats 
until then in universal use. 

Bowling, Tom (bo ling). The type of a model 
sailor; from the character of that name in 
Smollett's Roderick Random. 

The Tom Bowling referred to in Dibdin's 
famous sea-song was Captain Thomas Dibdm, 
brother of Charles Dibdm (1768-1833), who 
wrote the song, and father of Thomas Frognall 
Dibdin, the bibliomaniac. 

Here a sheer hulk lies poor Tom Bowling, 
The darling of the crew. 

Bowls. They who play bowls must expect to 
meet with rubbers. Those who touch pitch 
must expect to defile their fingers. Those who 
enter upon affairs of chance, adventure, or 
dangerous hazard must make up their minds 
to encounter crosses, losses, or difficulties. 
The rubber is the final game which decides who 
is the winner. 

Bowral Boy. The name familiarly given to Sir 
Donald Bradman, the great Australian 
cricketer, who first played in the Bowral school 

Bowse. See BROWSE. 

Bowyer God, The "archer god/' usually 
Cupid, but in his translation of the Iliad 
Bryant (I, v, 156) applies the epithet to Apollo. 

Box. I've got into the wrong box. I am out 

of my element, or in the wrong place. Lord 
Lyttelton used to say that whenever he went to 
Vauxhall and heard the mirth of his neighbours, 
he used to fancy pleasure was in every box but 
his own. Wherever he went for happiness, he 
somehow always got into the wrong box. 

To be in the same box. To be in the same 
predicament as somebody else; to be equally 

To box Harry. A phrase in use among 
commercial travellers; applied to one who 
avoids the table d'hdte and takes something 
substantial for tea, in order to save expense; 
also, to cut down one's expenditure after a 
bout of extravagance. To box a tree is to cut 
the bark to procure the sap, and these travel- 
lers dram the landlord by having a cheap tea 
instead of an expensive dinner. To "box the 
fox*' is to rob an orchard. 

To box the compass. A nautical phrase 
meaning to name the thirty-two points of the 
compass m their correct order. Hence, a 
wind is said "to box the compass" when in^a 
short space of time it blows from every 
quarter in succession; hence, the figurative use 
of the term to go right round, in political 
views, etc., or m direction, and to end at one's 

Box up. Mixed or muddled up; an 
Australian expression, originally applied to 
mixing up sheep. Found in Boldrewood, 
Robbery Under Arms. 

Box and Cox has become a phrase which can 
only be explained by the story. Box and Cox 
were two lodgers who, unknown to each 
other, occupied the same room, one being out 
at work all day, the other all night. 

Box-cars. In throwing dice, in the U.S.A., 
a double six is known as a box-cars; from its 
resemblance to freight cars, or goods wagons. 

Box Days. In the Scottish Court of Session, 
two days in spring and autumn, and one at 
Christmas, during vacation, in which pleadings 
may be filed. This custom was established in 
1690, for the purpose of expediting business. 
Each judge has a private box with a slit, into 
which informations may be placed on box 
days, and the judge, who alone has the key, 
examines the papers in private. 

Boxing-Day. See CHRISTMAS Box. 

Boxing weights. 

Flyweight, 112 Ib. and under. 

Bantam, 118 Ib. 

Feather, 126 Ib. 

Light, 135 Ib. 

Welter, 147 Ib. 

Middle, 1601b. 

Light heavy, 1751b. 

Heavy, all over 175 Ib. 

Boxers. A secret society in China which took 
a prominent part in the rising against foreigners 
m 1900 and was suppressed by joint Euro- 
pean acti9n. The Chinese name was Gee Ho 
Chuan, signifying "righteousness, harmony, 

Boy 139 

and fists," and implying training as in athletics, 
for the purpose of developing righteousness and 

Boy. In a number of connexions "boy" has 
no reference to age. In India, the colonies, 
and elsewhere, for instance, a native or negro 
servant or labourer of whatever age is called a 
boy, and among sailors the word refers only 
to experience in seamanship. A crew is 
divided into able seamen, ordinary seamen, 
and boys or greenhorns. A "boy" is not 
required to know anything about the practical 
working of the vessel, but an "able seaman" 
must know all his duties and be able to perform 

The Boy, meaning champagne, takes its 
origin from a shooting-party at which a boy 
with an iced bucket of wine was in attendance. 
When the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), who 
was one of the shots, needed a drink he shouted 
"Where's the boy?", and thence the phrase 
found its way into would-be smart parlance. 
He will say that port and sherry his nice palate 

always cloy; 

He'll nothing drink but " B. and S." and big mag- 
nums of " the boy." 

Punch (1882). 

Boy Bishop. St. Nicholas of Bari was 
called "the Boy Bishop" because from his 
cradle he manifested marvellous indications of 
piety; the custom of choosing a boy from the 
cathedral choir, etc., on his day (December 
6th), as a mock bishop, is very ancient. The 
boy possessed episcopal honour for three 
weeks, and the rest of the choir were his 
prebendaries. If he died during his time of 
office he was buried in pontificalibus. Prob- 
ably the reference is to Jesus Christ sitting in 
the Temple among the doctors while He was a 
boy. The custom was abolished in the reign 
of Henry VIII. 

Naked boy. See NAKED. 

Boy Scouts were started in Great Britain 
by General Baden-Powell in 1908, with the 
purpose of training lads to be good citizens 
with high ideals of honour, thoughtfulness for 
others, cleanliness, obedience and self-reliance. 
The movement spread to other countries and 
in 1950 had a membership of over five million 
young people. Scouts are graded according 
to age into three classes ; Wolf Cubs, 8 to 11; 
Scouts, 11 and upwards; Rover Scouts over 17. 
See also GIRL GUIDES. 

Boycott. To boycott a person is to refuse to 
deal with him, to take any notice of him, or 
even to sell to him. The term arose in 1881, 
when Captain Boycott, an Irish landlord, was 
thus ostracized by the Irish agrarian in- 

One word as to the way in which a man should be 
boycotted. When any man has taken a farm from 
which a tenant has been evicted, or is a grabber, let 
everyone in the parish turn his back on him; have 
no communication with him; have no dealings with 
him. You need never say an unkind word to him; 
but never say anything at all to him. If you must 
meet him in fair, walk away from him silently. Do 
him no violence, but have no dealings with him. 
Let every man's door be closed against him; and 
make him feel himself a stranger and a castaway in 
his own neighbourhood J. DILLON, M.P. : Speech 
to the Land League (February 26th, 1881). 


Boyle Controversy. A book-battle between 
Charles Boyle, fourth Earl of Orrery, and the 
famous Bentley, respecting the Epistles of 
Phalans, which were edited by Boyle in 1695. 
Two years later Bentley published his cele- 
brated Dissertation, showing that the epistles 
(see PHALARIS) were spurious, and in 1699 
published another rejoinder, utterly annihilat- 
ing the Boyle partisans. Swift's Battle of the 
Books (q.v.) was one result of the controversy. 

Boyle's law. The volume of a gas is 
inversely proportional to the pressure if the 
temperature remains constant. If we double 
the pressure on a gas, its volume is reduced to 
one-half; if we quadruple the pressure, it 
will be reduced to one-fourth; and so on; so 
called from the Hon. Robert Boyle (1627-9 l). t 

Boyle Lectures. A course of eight sermons 
on natural and revealed religion delivered 
annually at St. Mary-le-Bow Church, London. 
They were instituted by the Hon. Robert 
Boyle, and began m 1692, the year after his 

Boz. Charles Dickens (1812-70). 

<4 Boz, my signature in the Morning 
Chronicle," he tells us, "was the nickname of a 
pet child, a younger brother, whom I had 
dubbed Moses, in honour of the Vicar of 
Wakefield, which, being pronounced Boses, got 
shortened into Boz" 

Bozzy. James Boswell (1740-95), the bio- 
grapher of Dr. Johnson. 

Bozzaris, Marco. See LEONIDES OF MODERN 

Brabanconne (bra ban son). The national an- 
them or Belgium, composed by Van Campen- 
hout in the revolution of 1830, and so named 
from Brabant, of which Brussels is the chief 

Brace of Shakes. See SHAKES. 

Btadamante (brad' a mant). The sister of 
Rinaldo in Orlando Furioso and Innamorato. 
She is represented as a wonderful Christian 
Amazon, possessed of an irresistible spear 
which unhorsed every knight it struck. 

Bradbury. A l-note, as issued by the 
Treasury 1914-28, bearing the signature of 
J. S. Bradbury (subsequently Baron Bradbury), 
who was at that time Permanent Secretary to 
the Treasury. 

Bradshaw's Guide was started in 1839 by 
George Bradshaw (1801-53) printer, in 
Manchester. The Monthly Guide was first 
issued in December, 1841, and consisted of 
thirty-two pages, giving tables of forty-three 
lines of English railway. 

Brag. A game at cards; so called because the 
players brag of their cards to induce the 
company to make bets. The principal sport 
of the game is occasioned by any player 
bragging that he holds a better hand than the 
rest of the party, which is declared by saying 
"I brag," and staking a sum of money on the 
issue. (Hoyle) 




Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better. 

Talking is all very well, but doing is far better. 
Trust none; 

For oaths are straws, men's faiths are wafer-cakes. 
And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck. 

SHAKESPEARE- Henry V, ii, 3, 

Jack Brag. A vulgar, pretentious braggart, ' 
who gets into aristocratic society, where his 
vulgarity stands out m strong relief. The 
character is in Theodore Hook's novel of the 
same name. 

Braggadocio (brag a do' si 6). A braggart; 
one who is valiant with his tongue but a great 
coward at heart Cp. ERYTHYNUS. The 
character is from Spenser's Faerie Queene, and 
a type of the 'Intemperance of the Tongue." 
After a time, like the jackdaw in borrowed 
plumes, Braggadocio is stripped of all his 
glories: his shield is claimed by Sir Marinell; 
his lady is proved by the golden girdle to be 
the false Florimel; his horse is claimed by Sir 
Guyon; Talus shaves off his beard and scourges 
his scmire; and the pretender sneaks off amidst 
the jeers of everyone. It is thought that the 
poet had the Duke d'Alencon, a suitor of 
Queen Elizabeth, in his eye when he drew this 
character (Faerie Queene, ii, 3; iii, 5, 8, 10; 
iv, 2, 4; v, 3; etc.). 

Brahma (bra' ma). In Hinduism Brahma, 
properly speaking, is the Absolute, or God 
conceived as entirely impersonal; this theo- 
logical abstraction was later endowed with 
personality, and became the Creator of the 
universe, the first in the divine Triad, of which 
the other partners were Vishnu, the main- 
tamer, and Siva (or Shiva), the destroyer. As 
such the Brahmins claim Brahma as the 
founder of their religious system. 

Whate'er in India, holds the sacred name 
Of piety or lore, the Brahmins claim ; 
In wildest rituals, vain and painful, lost, 
Brahma, their founder, as a god they boast. 
CAMOENS: Lusiad, Bk. vii. 

Brahmin. A worshipper of Brahma, the 
highest caste in the system of Hinduism, and 
of the priestly order. See CASTE. 

Brahmo Somaj (Sanskrit, "the Society of 
Believers in the One God"). A monotheistic 
sect of Brahmins, founded in 1818 in Calcutta 
by Ramohun Roy (c. 1777-1833), a wealthy 
and well-educated Brahmin who wished to 
purify his religion and found a National 
Church which should be free from idolatry and 
superstition. In 1844 the Church was re- 
organized by Debendro Nath Tagore, and 
since that time its reforming zeal and influence 
has gained it many adherents. 

Brains Trust. Originally a name applied by 
James M. Kieran of the New York Times to 
the advisers of Franklin Roosevelt in his 
election campaign. Later applied to the 
group of college professors who advised him 
in administering the New Deal. In England 
the name was given to a popular radio 
programme in which well-known public 
figures aired their views on questions sub- 
mitted by listeners. 

Brain-wave. A sudden inspiration; "a 
happy thought." 

Bran. If not Bran, it is Bran's brother. 

"Mar e Bran, is e a brachair" (if it be not Bran, 
it is Bran's brother) was the proverbial reply of 
Maccombich. SCOTT: Waverley, ch. xiv. 

If not the real "Simon Pure," it is just as 
good. A complimentary expression. Bran 
was Fingal's dog, a mighty favourite. See 
also BRENNUS. 

Bran-new or Brand-new (A.S brand, a torch). 
Fire new. Shakespeare, in Love's Labour Lost, 
i, 1, says, "A man of fire-new words." And 
again in Twelfth Night, ni, 2, "Fire-new from 
the mint"; and again in King Lear, v, 3, 
"Fire-new fortune" ; and again m Richard ///, 
i, 3, "Your fire-new stamp of honour is 
scarce current." Originally applied to metals 
and things manufactured in metal which shine. 
Subsequently applied generally to things quite 

Brand. The merchant's or excise mark 
branded on the article itself, the vessel which 
contains the article, the wrapper which covers 
it, the cork of the bottle, etc., to guarantee its 
being genuine, etc. 

He has the brand of villain in his looks. It 

was once customary to brand convicted 
persons with a red-hot iron; thus, in the reign 
of William III convicted criminals were 
branded with R (rogue) on the shoulders, 
M (manslayer) on the right hand, and T (thief) 
on the left; and felons were branded on the 
cheek with an F. The custom was abolished 
by law in 1822. 

Ranchers whose herds roamed the Western 
plains of the U.S.A. branded their cattle with 
a distinctive iron. One enterprising rancher 
named Maverick made his fortune by declaring 
that he had no iron, and appropriating any 
cattle on which no brand was visible. Hence 
a Maverick is a wanderer, knowing no master. 

Brandan, St., or Brendan. A semi-legendary 
Irish saint, said to have died and been buried 
at Clonfert (at the age of about 94), in 577, 
where he was abbot over 3,000 monks. 

He is best known on account of the very 
popular mediaeval story of his voyage in search 
of the Earthly Paradise, which was supposed to 
be situated on an island in mid-Atlantic. The 
voyage lasted for seven years, and the story is 
crowded with marvellous incidents, the very 
birds and beasts he encountered being 
Christians and observing the fasts and festivals 
of the Church! 
And we came to the Isle of a Saint who had sailed 

with St. Brendan of yore, 
He had lived ever since on the Isle and his winters 

were fifteen score. 

TENNYSON: Voyage ofMaeldune. 

Brandenburg. Confession of Brandenburg. A 

formulary or confession of faith drawn up in 
the city of Brandenburg in 1610, by order of 
the elector, with the view of reconciling the 
tenets of Luther with those of Calvin, and to 
put an end to the disputes occasioned by the 
Confession of Augsburg. 

Brandon. An obsolete form of bran d, a torch. 
Dominica de brandonibus (St. Valentine's Day), 
when boys used to carry about brandons 
(Cupid's torches). 



Brazen head 

Brandy is a spirit distilled from the fermented 
juice of the grape, and may be made wherever 
wine is made. The most famous are those 
made in the Cognac and Armagnac districts of 

Brandy Nan. Queen Anne who was very 
fond of brandy. On her statue in St. Paul's 
Churchyard a wit once wrote : 
Brandy Nan, Brandy Nan, left in the lurch, 
Her face to the gin-shop, her back to the church. 

A "gm palace" used to stand at the south- 
west corner of St. Paul's Churchyard. 

Brank. A Scotch word for a gag for scolds. 
It consisted of an iron framework fitting 
round the head, with a piece projecting in- 
wards which went into the mouth and pre- 
vented the "tongue- wagging." One is pre- 
served in the vestry of the church of Walton- 
on-Thames. It is dated 1633, and has the 
inscription : 

Chester presents Walton with a bridle 

To curb women's tongues that talk too idle. 

Brant-goose. See BRENT-GOOSE. 

Brasenose (braz" noz) (Oxford). Over the 
gate is a brass nose, the arms of the college; 
but the word is a corruption of brasenhuis, a 
brasserie or brewhouse, the college having been 
built on the site of an ancient brewery. For 
over 550 years the original nose was at Stam- 
ford, for in the time of Edward III the students, 
in search of religious liberty, migrated thither, 
taking the brazen nose with them. They were 
soon recalled, but the nose remained on their 
Stamford gateway till 1890, when, the property 
coming into the market, it was acquired by the 

Brass. Impudence, effrontery. As bold as 
brass, with barefaced effrontery. Brass is also 
a slang term for money. 

A church brass is a funeral effigy made in 
latten and fastened down to a tombstone 
forming part of the floor of a church. Such 
effigies are mostly of the 14th and 15th 
centuries and are decorative in design. Rub- 
bings can be made most successfully with 
cobbler's wax on coarse paper. 

The Man of Brass. Talus, the work of 
Vulcan. He traversed Crete to prevent 
strangers from setting foot on the island, threw 
rocks at the Argonauts to prevent their 
landing, and used to make himself red-hot, and 
then hug intruders to death. 

Brass Hat. A soldier's name for a staff 
officer, or an officer of high rank. It dates 
from the South African War (1899-1902), and 
refers to the gold oak leaves with which such 
officers* hats were ornamented on the brim. 

To get down to brass tacks. To get down 
to the essentials, or the tacks which hold the 
structure together. 

Brassbounder. A premium apprentice on a 
merchant ship. 

Brat. A child, especially in contempt. The 
origin of the word is unknown, but it may be 

from the Welsh breth, swaddling clothes, or 
Gaelic brat, an apron. 

O Israel! O household of the Lord! 

O Abraham's brats! O brood of blessed seed! 

GASCOIGNE: De Profundis. 

Brave. A fighting man, among the American 
Indians, was so called. 

Alonso IV, of Portugal (1290-1357) was 
so called. 

Bravest of the Brave (Le Brave des Braves). 
Marshal Ney (1769-1815). So called by the 
troops of Friedland (1807), on account of his 
fearless bravery. Napoleon said of him, 
"That man is a lion." 

Bravery. Finery is the Fr. braverie. The 
French for courage is bravoure. 
What woman in the city do I name 
When that I say the city woman bears 
The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders? 
Who can come in and say that I mean her? . . . 
Or what is he of basest function 
That says his bravery is not of my cost? 

As You Like It, ii, 7. 

Brawn. The test of the brawn's head. A little 
boy one day came to the court of King Arthur, 
and, drawing his wand over a boar's head, 
declared, "There's never a cuckold's knife can 
carve this head of brawn." No knight in the 
court except Sir Cradock was able to accom- 
plish the feat. (Percy's Reliques.) 
Bray. See VICAR. 

Brazen Age. The age of war and violence. It 
followed the silver age. 

To this next came in course the brazen age, 
A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage, 
Not impious yet. Hard steel succeeded then, 
And stubborn as the metal were the men. 

DRYDEN: Metamorphoses, i. 
Brazen-faced. Bold (in a bad sense), without 

What a brazen-faced varlet art thou! 

SHAKESPEARE: King Lear, ii, 2. 
Brazen bead. The legend of the wonderful 
head of brass that could speak and was 
omniscient is common property to early 
romances, and is of Eastern origin. In 
Valentine and Orson, for instance, we hear of a 
gigantic head kept in the castle of the giant 
Ferragus (q. v.). of Portugal . It told those who 
consulted it whatever they required to know, 
past, present, or to come; but the most 
famous in English legend is that fabled to 
have been made by the great Roger Bacon. 

It was said if Bacon heard it speak he would 
succeed in his projects; if not, he would fail. 
His familiar, Miles, was set to watch, and while 
Bacon slept the Head spoke thrice: "Time is"; 
half an hour later it said, "Time was." In 
another half-hour it said, "Time's past/* fell 
down, and was broken to atoms. Byron 
refers to this legend. 

Like Friar Bacon's brazen head, I've spoken, 
"Time is," "Time was," "Time's past." 
References to Bacon's Brazen Head are 
frequent in literature. Most notable is 
Robert Greene's Honorable History of Friar 
Bacon and Friar Bungay, 1 594. Among other 
allusions may be mentioned: 

Bacon trembled for his brazen head. 

POPE: Dunciad, ih, 104. 
Quoth he, " My head's not made of brass, 
As Friar Bacon's noddle was." 

BUTLER: Hudibras, ii, 2. 

Brazen out 


Breakers Ahead 

Brazen out, To. To stick to an assertion 
knowing it to be wrong; to outface in a shame- 
less manner; to disregard public opinion. 

Breach of Promise. A contract to marry is as 
binding in English law as any other contract, 
and if it is broken the party breaking it is 
liable to pay damages. The woman who 
breaks an engagement is just as liable in law 
as a man. In actions for breach of promise of 
marriage the plaintiff is entitled to the recovery 
of any pecuniary loss, such as the cost of a 
trousseau, and such sentimental or punitive 
damages as the jury may consider appropriate. 

Breaches, meaning creeks or small bays, is to 
be found in Judges v, 17. Deborah, com- 
plaining of the tribes who refused to assist her 
in her war with Sisera, says that Asher 
remained "in his breaches," that is, creeks on 
the seashore. 

Spenser uses the word in the same way : 
The heedful Boateman strongly forth did stretch 
His brawnie armes, and all his body straine, 
That th' utmost sandy breach they shortly fetch. 
Faerie Queene, II, xii, 21. 

In Coverdale's version of the Bible the 
passage is rendered 

Asser sat in the haven of the see, and taried in his 

Bread. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for 
thou shalt find it after many days (Eccles. xi, 1). 
When the Nile overflows its banks the weeds 
perish and the soil is disintegrated. The rice- 
seed being cast into the water takes root, and 
is found in due time growing in healthful 

Don't quarrel with your bread and butter. 
Don't foolishly give up the pursuit by which 
you earn your living. 

To break bread. To partake of food. 
Common m Scripture language. 

Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples 
came together to break bread, Paul preached to 
them. Acts xx, 7. 

Breaking of bread. The Eucharist. 

They continued ... in breaking of bread, and in 
prayer. Acts ii, 42 and 46. 

He took bread and salt, i.e. he took his oath. 
In Eastern lands bread and salt were formerly 
eaten when an oath was taken. 

To know which side one's bread is buttered. 

To be mindful of one's own interest. 

To take the bread out of someone's mouth. 

To forestall another; to say something which 
another was on the point of saying; to take 
away another's livelihood. 
Bread-basket. The stomach. 

Bread and cheese. The barest necessities of 

Breadalbane. See ALBANY. 
Break, To. To bankrupt (#.v.). 
To break a bond. To dishonour it. 
To break a butterfly on a wheel. To employ 
superabundant effort in the accomplishment of 
a small matter. 

Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel, 
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel. 

POPE: Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, 307-8. 

To break a journey. To stop before the 
journey is accomplished, with the intention of 
completing it later. 

To break a matter to a person. To be the 
first to impart it, and to do so cautiously and 

To break bread. See BREAD. 

To break cover. To start forth from a 

To break down. To lose all control of one's 
feelings; to collapse, to become hysterical. A 
break-down is a temporary collapse in health; 
it is also the name given to a wild kind of 
negro dance. 

To break faith. To violate one's word or 
pledge; to act traitorously. 

To break ground. To commence a new 
project. As a settler does. 

To break in. To interpose a remark. To 
train a horse to the saddle or to harness, or to 
train any animal or person to a desired way of 

To break one's fast. To take food after long 
abstinence; to eat one's breakfast after the 
night's fast. 

To break one's neck. To dislocate the bones 
of one's neck. 

To break on the wheel. To torture on a 
"wheel" by breaking the long bones with an 
iron bar. Cf. COUP DE GRACE. 

To break out of bounds. To go beyond the 
prescribed limits. 

To break the ice. To prepare the way; to 
cause the stiffness and reserve of intercourse 
with a stranger to relax; to impart to another 
bit by bit distressing news or a delicate subject. 

To break your back. To make you bank- 
rupt; to reduce you to a state of impotence. 
The metaphor is from carrying burdens on the 

To break up. To discontinue classes at the 
end of term time and go home; to separate. 
Also, to become rapidly decrepit or infirm. 
"Old So-and-so is breaking up; he's not long 
for this world." 

To break up housekeeping. To discontinue 
keeping a separate house. 

To break with someone. To cease from 

If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it; 

And I will break with her, and with her father, 

And thou shalt have her. 

Much Ado, i, 1. 

To get a break. To have an unexpected 
chance; to have an opportunity of advancing 
oneself in business, etc. 

To make a break may mean either to make a 
complete change, or it may imply the com- 
mitting of some social error, an unfortunate 

To run up a score in billiards or snooker. 

Break. A short solo improvisation in jazz 

Breakers Ahead. Hidden danger at hand. 
Breakers in the open sea always announce 
sunken rocks, sand banks, etc. 

Breaking a Stick 



Breaking a Stick. Part of the marriage 
ceremony of certain North American Indians, 
as breaking a wineglass is part of the marriage 
ceremony of the Jews. 

In one of Raphael's pictures we see an 
unsuccessful suitor of the Virgin Mary break- 
ing his stick. This alludes to the legend that 
the several suitors were each to bring an almond 
stick, which was to be laid up in the sanctuary 
over-night, and the owner of the stick which 
budded was to be accounted the suitor which 
God approved of. It was thus that Joseph 
became the husband of Mary. 

In Florence is a picture in which the 
rejected suitors break their sticks on Joseph's 

Breast. To make a clean breast of it. To 

make a full confession, concealing nothing. 

Breath. All in a breath. Without taking 
breath (Lat. continenti spirit u). 

It takes one's breath away. The news is so 
astounding it causes one to hold one's breath 
with surprise. 

Out of breath. Panting from exertion; 
temporarily short of breath. 

Save your breath to cool your porridge. 

Don't talk to me, it is only wasting your 

You might have saved your breath to cool your 
porridge. Mrs. GASKELL: Libbie Marsh (Era 111). 

To catch one's breath. To check suddenly 
the free act of breathing. 

" I see her," replied I, catching my breath with joy. 
Capt. MARRYAT: Peter Simple. 

To hold one's breath. Voluntarily to cease 
breathing for a time. 

To take breath. To cease for a little time 
from some exertion in order to recover from 
exhaustion of breath. 

Under one's breath. In a whisper or under- 
tone of voice. 

To breathe one's last. To die. 
Breche de Roland. A deep defile in the crest 
of the Pyrenees, some three hundred feet in 
width, between two precipitous rocks. The 
legend is that Roland, the paladin, cleft the 
rock in two with his sword Durandal, when he 
was set upon by the Gascons at Roncesvalles. 

Then would I seek the Pyrenean Breach 

Which Roland clove with huge two-handed sway. 
WORDSWORTH: Aix-la-Chapelle. 

Breeches. To wear the breeches. Said of a 
woman who usurps the prerogative of her 
husband. Similar to The grey mare is the 
better horse. See GREY. 

Breeches Bible, The. See BIBLE, SPECIALLY 

Breeches buoy. A pair of short canvas 
breeches forming a cradle in which, by means 
of a pulley and rope, people can be con- 
veyed from ship to ship or ship to shore. 

Breeze, meaning a light gale or strongish wind 
(and, figuratively, a slight quarrel) is from the 
Fr. brise, and Span, brisa, the north-east wind. 
Breeze, the small ashes and cinders used in 
burning bricks, and nowadays worked up into 
breeze-blocks for building, is the Fr. braise, 
older form brese, meaning glowing embers, or 

burning charcoal, and is connected with 
Swed. brasa, fire, and our brazier. Breeze in 
breeze-fly is A.S. biiosa. So the three words, 
breeze, are in no way connected. 

The breeze-fly. The gad-fly; called from 
its sting (A.S. briosa; Gothic, bry, a sting). 

Breezy. A breezy person is one who is 
open, jovial, perhaps inclined to be a little 

Brehon Laws (bre' hon). This is the English 
name for an ancient legal system which pre- 
vailed in Ireland from about the 7th century. 
They cover every phase of Irish life and 
furnish an interesting picture of the country in 
those early days. 

Brendan, St. See BRANDAN. 

Bren-gun. The World War II equivalent of a 
Lewis (#.v.) machine-gun. It was originally 
made in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and then manu- 
factured in Enfield, England. The word 
"bren" is a blend of Brno and Enfield. 

Brennus. The name of the Gaulish chief who 
overran Italy and captured Rome about 
390 B.C. is the Latin form of the Celtic word 
Brenhin, king or war-chief. Bran, a name of 
frequent occurrence in Welsh history, is the 
same word. 

Brent. Without a wrinkle. Burns says of 
Jo Anderson, in his prime of life, his "locks 
were like the raven," and his "bonnie brow 
was brent." 

Brent-hill means the eyebrows. Looking or 
gazing from under brent-hill, in Devonshire 
means "frowning at one"; and in West 
Cornwall to brend means to wrinkle the brows. 

Brent-goose. Formerly in England, and still 
in America, called properly a brant-goose, the 
branta bermcla, a brownish-grey goose of the 
genus branta. 

For the people of the village 
Saw the flock of brant with wonder. 
LONGFELLOW: Hiawatha, pt. xvi, stanza 32. 

Brentford. Like the two kings of Brentford 
smelling at one nosegay. Said of persons 
who were once rivals, but have become 
reconciled. The allusion is to The Rehearsal 
(1672), by the Duke of Buckingham, "The 
two kings of Brentford enter hand in hand," 
and the actors, to heighten the absurdity, used 
to make them enter " smelling at one nosegay " 
(act ii, sc. 2). 

Bressummer (ores' inner), or Breast-summer 
(Fr. sommier, a lintel or bressummer). A 
beam supporting the whole weight of the 
building above it; as, the beam over a shop- 
front, the beam extending over an opening 
through a wall when a communication between 
two contiguous rooms is required; but pro- 

Eerly applied only to a bearing beam in the 
ice of a building. Summer, here, is the O.Fr. 
somier, for Lat. sagmarius (late Lat. sau- 
marius), a pack-horse, also a beam on which a 
weight can be laid. 

Bretwalda (bref wol' da). The name given to 
Egbert and certain other early English kings 
who exercised a supremacy often rather 
shadowy over the kings of the other English 

Brevet Rank 


Bride cake 

states. See HEPTARCHY. It means ^ ruler 
or "overlord of the Brets" or "Britons." 

The office of Bretwalda, a kind of elective chief- 
tainship, of all Britain, was held by several Northum- 
brian kings, in succession. 

EARLE: English Tongue, p. 26. 

Brevet Rank (brev'et). Titular rank without 
the pay that usually goes with it. A brevet 
major had the title of major, but the pay of 
captain, or whatever his substantive rank 
happened to be. (Fr. brevet, dim. of bref, a 
letter, a document.) 

Breviary (bre' vi ar i). A book containing the 
daily "Divine Office," which those in orders in 
the Roman Catholic Church are bound to 
recite. The Office consists of psalms, collects, 
readings from Scripture, and the life of some 
saint or saints. 

Brew. Brew me a glass of grog, i.e. mix one 
for me. Brew me a cup of tea, i.e. make one 
for me. The tea is set to brew, i.e. to draw. 
The general meaning of the word is to boil or 
mix; the restricted meaning is to make malt 

As you brew, so you will bake. As you begin, 
so you will go on; you must take the conse- 
quences of your actions; as you make your 
bed, so you will lie in it. 

Nick: Boy, have they appointed to fight? 

Boy: Ay, Nicholas; wilt thou not go see the fray? 

Nick: No, indeed; even as they brew, so let them 
bake. I will not thrust my hand into the flame, an 
I need not ... they that strike with the sword shall 
be beaten with the scabbard. PORTER: Two Angry 
Women of Abington (1599). 

To brew up. To burn. Said of tanks in 
World War II. 

Brewer. The Brewer of Ghent, Jakob van 
Artevelde (d. 1345); a popular Flemish leader 
who, though by birth an aristocrat, was a 
member of the Guild of Brewers. 
Brian Boru, or Boroma (brl' an bo roo', bo ro' 
ma). This great Irish chieftain was king of 
Munster in 978 and became chief king of all 
Ireland m 1002. On Good Friday, 1014, his 
forces defeated the Danes at the battle of 
Clontarf, but Brian, who was 190 old to 
fight, being almost eighty, was killed in his tent. 
Briareus (brl ar' e us), or ^6Egeon. A giant with 
fifty heads and a hundred hands. Homer says 
the gods called him Briareus, but men called 
him ^Egeon (Iliad, i, 403). He was the off- 
spring of Heaven and Earth and was of the 
race of the Titans, with whom he fought in the 
war against Zeus. 

He [Ajax] hath the joints of every thing, but every 
thing so out of joint that he is a gouty Briareus, 
many hands and no use, or purblind Argus, all 
eyes and no sight . 

SHAKESPEARE: Trotlus and Cressida, i, 2. 
The Briareus of languages. Cardinal 
Mezzofanti (1774-1849), who is said to have 
spoken fifty-eight different tongues. Byron 
called him u a walking polyglot; a monster of 
languages; a Briareus of parts of speech." 

Bold Briareus. Handel (1685-1759), so 
called by Pope: 

Strong in new arms, lo ' giant Handel stands, 
Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands; 
To stir, to rouse, to shake the soul he comes, 
And Jove's own thunders follow Mars's drums; 
POPE: Dunciad, iv, 65. 

Briar-root Pipe. A tobacco-pipe made from 
the root-wood of the large heath (bruyere), 
which grows in the south of France. 
Bribery and Corruption is a phrase often used 
rather loosely in English. In English law a 
bribe is a gift or other material inducement 
held out to a person to betray a trust or duty. 
Bribing at an election is a very serious offence, 
of which briber and bribed are held to be 
equally guilty. The payment of secret com- 
missions to induce business is forbidden by the 
Prevention of Corruption Act of 1906. The 
servant or agent asking for such a bribe is 
equally punishable with the briber, the maxi- 
mum punishment being a fine of 500 with or 
without imprisonment for a maximum of two 

Briboci (bribo'si). Inhabitants of part of 
Berkshire and the adjacent counties referred 
to by Caesar in his Commentaries. 

Bric-a-brac. Odds and ends of curiosities. 
In French, a marchand de bric-a-brac is a seller 
of rubbish, as old nails, old screws, old hinges, 
and other odds and ends of small value; but 
we employ the phrase for odds and ends of 
vertu. Bricoler in archaic French means 
Faire toute espece de metier, to be Jack of all 
trades. Brae is the ricochet of brie, as 
fiddle-faddle and scores of other ^double words 
in English. Littre says that it is formed on 
the model of de brie et de broc, by hook or by 

Brick. A regular brick. A jolly good fellow ; 
perhaps because a brick is solid, four-square, 
plain, and reliable. 

A fellow like nobody else, and in fine, a brick. 
GEORGE ELIOT: Daniel Deronda, Bk. ii, ch. 16. 

To make bricks without straw. To attempt 
to do something without having the necessary 
material supplied. The allusion is to the 
Israelites in Egypt, who were commanded by 
their taskmasters so to do (Ex. v, 7). 

To drop a brick. To make a highly tactless 

Brick-and-mortar franchise. A Chartist 
phrase for the 10 household system, long 
since abolished. 


Brickfielder (Austr.). A southerly gale 
experienced at Sydney which used to blow dust 
into the city from the nearby brickfields. 

Brick tea. The inferior leaves of the plant 
mixed with a glutinous substance (sometimes 
bullock's or sheep's blood), pressed into cubes, 
and dried. These blocks were frequently used 
as a medium of exchange in Central Asia. 

Bride. The bridal wreath is a relic of the 
corona nuptialis used by the Greeks and 
Romans to indicate triumph. 

Bride-ale. See CHURCH- ALE. It is from 
this word that we get the adjective bridal. 

Bride cake. A relic of the Roman confar- 
reatio, a mode of marriage practised by the 
highest class in Rome. It was performed 
before ten witnesses by the Pontifex Maximus, 

Bride favours 



and the contracting parties mutually partook 
of a cake made of salt, water, and flour (far). 
Only those born in such wedlock were eligible 
for the high sacred offices. 

Bride or wedding favours represent the 
true lover's knot, and symbolize union. 

Bride of the Sea. Venice ; so called from the 
ancient ceremony of the wedding of the sea 
by the Doge, who threw a ring into the Adriatic, 
saying, "We wed thee, O sea, in token of 
perpetual domination." This took place each 
year on Ascension Day, and was enjoined upon 
the Venetians in 1177 by Pope Alexander HI, 
who gave the Doge a gold ring from his own 
finger in token of the victory achieved by the 
Venetian fleet at Istna over Frederick Barbar- 
ossa, in defence of the pope's quarrel. At the 
same time his Holiness desired that the doges 
should throw a similar one into the sea on each 
succeeding Ascension Day, in commemoration 
of the event. See BUCENTAUR. 

Bridegroom. In O.E. this word was 
bndegome (A.S. bryd-guma)> from Gothic 
guma, a man. In M.E. times the -gome be- 
came corrupted into grome, and owing to this 
confusion and the long loss of the archaic 
guma % the word became connected with grom, 
or grome, a lad (which gives our groom), and 
hence the modern bridegroom. 

Bridegroom's men. In the Roman marriage 
by confarreatio, the bride was led to the 
Pontifex Maximus by bachelors, but was 
conducted home by married men. Polydore 
Virgil says that a married man preceded the 
bride on her return, bearing a vessel of gold 
and silver. See BRIDE CAKE. 

Bridewell. A generic term for a house of 
correction, or prison, so called from the City 
Bridewell, in Blackfnars, which was built as a 
hospital on the site of a former royal palace 
over a holy well of medical water, called St. 
Bride's (Bridget's) Well. After the Reforma- 
tion, Bridewell was made a penitentiary for 
unruly apprentices and vagrants. It was 
demolished m 1863. 

At my first entrance it seemed to me rather a 
Prince's Palace than a House of Correction, till 
gazing round me, I saw in a large room a parcel of 
ill-looking mortals stripped to their sliirts like hay- 
makers, pounding hemp. . . . From thence we 
turned to the women's apartment, who we found 
were shut up as close as nuns. But like so many 
slaves they were under the care and direction of an 
overseer who walked about with a very flexible 
weapon of offence to correct such hempen journey- 
women as were unhappily troubled with the spirit of 
idleness. NED WARD: The London Spy. 

Bridge. A variety of whist, said to have 
originated in Russia, in which one of the 
hands ("dummy") is exposed. Auction 
Bridge is a modification of bridge, in which 
there are greater opportunities for gambling. 

Contract Bridge is a development of Auction 
Bridge in which the pair of partners cannot 
score the tricks they win towards making a 
game unless they have previously contracted to 
do so. To win a game one of the pairs must 
score 100 points for tricks as contracted, the 
value of the tricks being reckoned in points 
according to whatever suit is trumps. The 
further ramifications of Contract Bridge call 

for a modern "Hoyle" rather than a modern 

Bridge of Gold. According to a German 
tradition, Charlemagne's spirit crosses the 
Rhine on a golden bridge at Bingen, in seasons 
of plenty, to bless the vineyards and corn- 

Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne, 

Upon thy bridge of gold. 


Made a bridge of gold for him; i.e. enabled 
a man to retreat from a false position without 
loss of dignity. 

Bridge of Jehennam. Another name for 
Al-Sirat (<?.v.). 

Bridge of Sighs. Over this bridge, which 
connects the palace of the doge with the state 

Erisons of Venice, prisoners were conveyed 
:om the judgment-hall to the place of 

I stood in Venice 9n the Bridge of Sighs, 
A palace and a prison on each hand. 
BYRON: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, iv, 1. 

A bridge over the Cam at St. John's College, 
Cambridge, which resembles the Venetian 
original, is called by the same name. 

Waterloo Bridge, in London, used, some 
years ago, when suicides were frequent there, 
to be called The Bridge of Sighs, and Hood 
gave the name to one of his most moving 

One more Unfortunate, 

Weary of breath, 
Rashly importunate, 
Gone to her deasth! 

Bridgehead. In war a small perimeter 
beyond a bridge seized by assault-troops to 
keep the enemy at bay while larger forces 
cross and deploy. A beachhead is a similar 
perimeter established on shore for a sea-borne 
landing, and it is often improperly referred to 
as a "bridgehead.** 

Bridgewater Treatises. Instituted by vhe Rev. 
Francis Henry Egerton, Earl of Bridgewater, 
in 1829. He left the interest of 8,000 to be 
given to the author of the best treatise on "The 
power, wisdom, and goodness of God, as 
manifested in the Creation." The money was 
divided between the following eight authors : 
Dr. Chalmers, Dr. John Kidd, Dr. Whewell, 
Sir Charles Bell, Dr. Peter M. Roget, Dean 
Buckland, the Rev. W. Kirby, and Dr. William 

Bridle. To bite on the bridle is to suffer 
great hardships. Horses bite on the bridle 
when trying, against odds, to get their own 

Bridle road or way. A way for r. riding- 
horse, but not for a horse and cart. 

To bridle up. In Fr. se rengorger, to draw 
in the chin and toss the head back in scorn or 
pride. The metaphor is to a horse pulled up 
suddenly and sharply. 

Bridport. Stabbed with a Bridport dagger, i.e. 
hanged. Bridport, in Dorsetshire, was once 
famous for its hempen goods, and monopolized 
the manufacture of ropes, cables, and tackling 
for the British navy. The hangman's rope 
being made at Bridport gave birth to the 
proverb. Fuller: Worthies. 



Bristol cream 

Brief. In legal parlance, a summary of the 
relevant facts and points of law given to a 
counsel in charge of a case. Hence, a briefless 
barrister, a barrister with no briefs, and there- 
fore no clients. 

Brief is also the name given to a papal 
letter of less serious or important character 
than a bull (#.v.); and, in the paper trade, to 
foolscap ruled with a marginal line, and either 
thirty-six or forty-two transverse lines, also to 
the size of a foolscap sheet when folded in half. 

Brig, brigantine (brig, brig' an ten). The 
terms applied to two smaller types of sailing 
vessel. A brig was a two-masted craft with 
both masts square-rigged; the brigantine, also 
two-masted, had the fore-mast square-rigged 
and the mam-mast fore-and-aft rigged. 

Brigade of Guards. See HOUSEHOLD TROOPS. 

Brigand. A French word, from the Ital. 
brigante, pres. part, of brigare, to quarrel. In 
England brigands were originally light-armed, 
irregular troops, like the Bashi-Bazouks, and, 
like them, were addicted to marauding. The 
Free Companies of France were brigands. 

In course of time the Ital. brigante came to 
mean a robber or pirate; hence the use of 
brigandine 9 later brigantine, for a sailing vessel, 
and also brig (#.v.). 

Brigandine (brig' an din). The armour of a 
brigand, consisting of small plates of iron on 
quilted linen, and covered with leather, hemp, 
or something of the kind. The word occurs 
twice in Jeremiah (xlvi, 4; li, 3), and in both of 
these passages the Revised Version reads 
"coats of mail," while for the first Coverdale 
gives "breastplates." In the Geneva Version 
Goliath's coat of mail is called a "brigandme." 

Brilliant. A form of cutting of precious stones 
introduced by Vincenzo Peruzzi at Venice in 
the late 17th century. Most diamonds are 
now brilliant-cut, ard the word "brilliant" 
commonly means a diamond cut in this way. 
In a perfect brilliant there are 58 facets. 

Brilliant Madman, The. Charles XII of 
Sweden. (1682, 1697-1718). 

Macedonia's madman or the Swede. 

JOHNSON: Vanity of Human Wishes. 

Bring. To bring about. To cause a thing to 
be done. 

To bring down the house. To cause raptur- 
ous applause in a theatre. 

To bring into play. To cause to act, to set in 

To bring round. To restore to consciousness 
or health; to cause one to recover (from a fit, 

To bring to. To restore to consciousness; 
to resuscitate. There are other meanings. 

"I'll bring her to," said the driver, with a brutal 
grin; "I'll give her something better than camphor." 
Mrs. STOWE: Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

To bring to bear. To cause to happen 

To bring to book. To detect one in a mis- 

To bring to pass. To cause to happen. 

To bring to the hammer. To offer or sell by 
public auction. 

To bring under. To bring into subjection. 

To bring up. To rear from birth or an early 
age Also numerous other meanings 

Brinvilliers, Marquise de (bnn ve' ya), a noted 
French poisoner. She was born about 1630' 
and was executed m Pans in 1676. Havmg- 
ruined her husband, the Marquis, and 
squandered his fortune, she became the lover 
of the Seigneur de Sainte Croix, who instructed 
her in the use of a virulent poison, supposed to 
have been aqua tofana. With this she 
poisoned her father and other members of her 
family m order to obtain possession of the 
family lands and wealth. Her crimes came to 
light when she accidentally poisoned Sainte 
Croix, in 1 672. 

Briny. I'm on the briny. The sea, which is 
salt like brine. 

Brioche (bre' osh). A kind of sponge-cake 
made with flour, butter, and eggs. When 
Mane Antoinette was talking about the bread 
riots of Pans during October 5th and 6th, 1789, 
the Duchesse de Pohgnac naively exclaimed, 
"How is it that these silly people are so 
clamorous for bread, when they can buy such 
nice brioches for a few sous?" It is said that 
our own Princess Charlotte avowed "that she 
would for her part rather eat beef than starve" 
and wondered that the people should be so 
obstinate as to insist upon having bread when 
it was so scarce. 

Brisbane Line. In World War II a defensive 
position running from north of Bnsbane to 
north of Adelaide, to which it was intended to 
retire if the Japanese invaded Australia m 

Briseis (bri' se is). The patronymic name of 
Hippodamia, daughter of Briseui,. She was 
the cause of the quarrel between Agamemnon 
and Achilles, and when the former robbed 
Achilles of her, Achilles refused any longer to 
go to battle, and the Greeks lost ground daily. 
Ultimately, Achilles sent his friend Patroclus 
to supply his place; he was slam, and Achilles, 
towering with rage, rushed to battle, slew 
Hector, and Troy fell. 

Brissotins. A nickname given to the advocates 
of reform in the French Revolution, because 
they were "led by the nose" by Jean Pierre 
Brissot. The party was subsequently called 
the Girondists (#.v.). 

Bristol Board. A stiff drawing-paper with a 
smooth surface, or a fine quality of cardboard 
composed of two or more sheets pasted to- 
gether, the substance of board being governed 
by the number of sheets. Said to have been 
first made at Bristol. 

Bristol Boy, The. Thomas Chatterton 
(1752-70), who was born at Bristol, and there 
composed his Rowley Poems. See ROWLEY. 

The marvellous boy, 

The sleepless soul that perished in his pride. 
WORDSWORTH : Resolution and Independence. 

Bristol cream is a particularly fine rich brand 
of sherry. See BRISTOL MILK. 

Bristol diamonds 


Broad Arrow 

Bristol diamonds. Brilliant crystals of 
colourless quartz found in St. Vincent's Rock, 
Clifton, near Bristol. 

Spenser refers to them as "adamants": 
But Avon marched in more stately path, 
Proud of his Adamants, with which he shines 
And glisters wide, as als of wondrous Bath, 
And Bnstowe faire. 

Faerie Queene, IV, xi, 31. 
Bristol fashion, In. Methodical and orderly. 
More generally Shipshape and Bristol fashion. 
A sailor's phrase; said in Smyth's Sailor's 
Word Book to refer to the time "when Bristol 
was in its palmy commercial days . . . and its 
shipping was all in proper good order." 

Bristol milk. Sherry sack, at one time given 
by the Bristol people to their friends. 

This metaphorical milk, whereby Xeres or Sherry- 
sack is intended. FULLER: Worthies. 

Bristol waters. Mineral waters of Clifton, 
near Bristol, with a temperature not exceeding 
74; formerly celebrated in cases of pulmonary 
consumption. They are very rarely used now. 

Britain. The derivation of this word is not 
certainly known, but its first recorded use is 
by the Greeks, who probably obtained it 
through the Greek colony at Massilia (Mar- 
seilles). Itan* or etan, in Basque signifies a 
district or country; the root appears in many 
names, e.g. Aquzto/zia, Lus/tema, Maure/ama. 
Another suggestion is that it is from the 
Cymric-Celtic root, brith, meaning "to paint," 
with allusion to woad-paintmg of their 
bodies by the aborigines. 

Great Britain consists of "Britannia prima" 
(England), "Britannia secunda" (Wales), and 
"North Britain" (Scotland), united under one 
sway. The term first came into use in 1604, 
when James I was proclaimed "King of Great 

Greater Britain. The whole British Empire, 
i.e. Great Britain, the Dominions and Colonies. 

Britannia. The first known representation of 
Britannia as a female figure sitting on a globe, 
leaning With one arm on a shield, and grasping 
a spear in the other hand, is on a Roman coin 
of Antoninus Pius, who died A.D. 161. The 
figure reappeared on our copper coin in the 
reign of Charles II, 1665, and the model was 
Frances Stewart, afterwards created Duchess of 
Richmond. The engraver was Philip Roetier, 

The King's new medall, where in little, there is 
Mrs. Stewart's face . . . and a pretty thing it is, 
that he should choose her face to represent Britannia 
by. Pepys's Diary. 

British Council. This was established in 1934 
for the purpose of encouraging British 
cultural interests abroad, including the 
formation of schools, the introduction of 
foreign students to this country, and the 
projection of a knowledge of all aspects of 
British life and thought through the press, 
films, distribution of literature, exhibitions, 
lectures, concerts and plays. The British 
Council is financed by Parliament, on a 
Foreign Office vote. 

British Empire, Order of the. This order 
was instituted in 1917 with two divisions, 
military and civil. It is conferred for services 

rendered to the Empire, whether at home or 
abroad and is given to women equally with 
men. There are five classes: Knight Grand 
Cross (G.B.E.); Knight Commander (K.B.E.); 
Commander (C.B.E.); Officer (O.B.E.); and 
member (M.B.E.). In the case of women 
D.B.E. (D = dame) takes the place of K.B.E. 

British lion, The. The pugnacity of the 
British nation, as opposed to the John Bull, 
which symbolizes the substantiality, solidity, 
and obstinacy of the people, with all their 
prejudices and national peculiarities. 

To twist the tail of the British lion used to be 
a favourite phrase in America for attempting 
to annoy the British people and government by 
abuse and vituperation. This was usually 
resorted to with the object of currying favour 
with citizens of Irish birth and getting their 

Britisher, A. An American term for a Briton, 
a native of the British Isles, often with a 
derogatory implication. 

Britomart (brif 6 mart). In Spenser's Faerie 
Queene, a female knight, daughter of King 
Ryence of Wales. She is the personification of 
chastity and purity; encounters the "savage, 
fierce bandit and mountaineer" without injury, 
and is assailed by "hag and unlaid ghost, 
goblin, and swart fairy of the mine," but 
"dashes their brute violence into sudden 
adoration and blank awe." She finally marries 

Spenser got the name, which means " sweet 
maiden," from Britomartis, a Cretan nymph of 
Greek mythology, who was very fond of the 
chase. King Minos fell in love with her, and 
persisted in his advances for nine months, 
when she threw herself into the sea. 

Briton. To fight like a Briton is to fight with 
indomitable courage. 

To work like a Briton is to work hard and 

Certainly, without the slightest flattery, 
dogged courage and perseverance are the strong 
characteristics of John Bull. A similar phrase 
is "To work like a Trojan." 

Brittany, The Damsel of. Eleanor, daughter 
of Geoffrey, second son of Henry II of Eng- 
land, and Constance, daughter of Conan IV 
of Brittany. At the death of Prince Arthur 
(1203) she was heiress to the English throne, 
but John confined her m Bristol castle, where 
she died in 1241. 

Broach. To broach a new subject. To start 
one in conversation. The allusion is to beer 
barrels, which are tapped by means of a peg 
called a broach. So "to broach a subject" 
is to introduce it, to bring it to light, as beer is 
drawn from the cask after the latter has been 

I did broach this business to your highness. 

Henry VIII, 11, 4. 

Broad Arrow. The representation of an arrow- 
head placed on Government stores, and also 
upon the uniform of convicts. It was 
introduced by Henry, Earl of Romney, who 
was Master General 9f the Ordnance, 1693- 
1702 and employed his own cognisance of a 
pheon, or broad arrow. 

Broad Bottom Ministry 



Broad Bottom Ministry. An administration 
formed by a coalition of parties m 1744. 
Pelham retained the lead; Pitt supported the 
Government; Bubb Doddington was treasurer 
of the navy. It held office till 1754. 

Broadcasting. This is the term used to 
describe the sending out of wireless pro- 
grammes of news, music, etc., to be received 
by those who have the necessary apparatus to 
listen in. The first transmitting station for 
entertainment and educational purposes began 
broadcasting in 1920. In May, 1922, the 
Marconi Co. began a programme of speech 
and music from Marconi House, London 
(2LO). In October of the same year the 
British Broadcasting Company came into 
being, and m 1926 this became the British 
Broadcasting Corporation (B.B.C.) with a 
royal charter. In 1950 the number of licences 
issued amounted to nearly twelve million. 
Broadcloth. The best cloth for men's clothes. 
So called from its great breadth. It required 
two weavers, side by side, to fling the shuttle 
across it. Originally two yards wide, now 
about fifty-four inches; but the word is 
now used to signify a fine, plain-wove, black 

An honest man, close-button*d to the chin, 
Broadcloth without, and a warm heart within. 
COWPER: Epistle to Joseph Hill. 

Broadside. A large sheet of paper printed 
on one side only; strictly, the whole should be 
in one type and one measure, i.e. must not be 
divided into columns. It is also called a 
broadsheet. * 

Van Citters gives the best account of the trial. 
I nave seen a broadside which confirms his narrative. 
MACAULAY: History. 

In naval language, a broadside means the 
whole side of a ship; and to "open a broad- 
side on the enemy" is to discharge all the guns 
on one side at the same moment. 

Brobdingnag. In Swift's Gulliver's Travels, 
the country of giants, to whom Gulliver was a 
pigmy "not half so big as a round little worm 
plucked from the lazy ringer of a maid" 
Hence the adjective, Brobdingnagian, colossal. 
Brocken. See SPECTRE. 

Brpdie, Steve. He jumped off Brooklyn 
Bndge 23rd July, 1886. Known as "the man 
who wouldn't take a dare," he made this leau 
to win a bet of $200. y 

Brogue. ^An Irish word, brog, a shoe, con- 
nected with A.S. broc, breeches. A brogue is 
properly, a stout coarse shoe of rough hide- 
and secondarily hose, trousers. The use of 
brogue for the dialect or manner of speaking 
may be from this*.*, "brogue" is the speech 
of those who wear "brogues"; but it is by no 
means certain. 

Broken Music. In Elizabethan England this 
term meant (a) part, or concerted music ie 
music performed on instruments of different 
classes, such as the] "consorts" given in 
Morley's Consort Lessons (1599), which are 
written for the treble lute, cithern, pandora, 
fi . ute peble viol, and bass viol, and (b) music 
played by a string orchestra, the term in this 

sense probably originating from harps, lutes 
and such other stringed instruments as were 
played without a bow, not being able to sustain 
a long note. It is in this sense that Bacon 
uses the term: 

Dancing to song is a thing of great state and 
pleasure. I understand it that the song be in quire 
placed aloft and accompanied with some broken 
music. Essays; Of Masques and Triumphs. 

Shakespeare two or three times makes 
verbal play with the term: 

Pand.: What music is this? 

Serv.: I do but partly know, sir; it is music m 
parts. . . . 

Pand.: . . . Fair Prince, here is good broken 

Paris.: You have broke it, cousin: and bv mv lite 
you shall make it whole again. ' 

Troiius and Cressida, iii, I. 
Broken on the Wheel. See BREAK. 

Broker. This word meant originally a man 
who broached wine, and then sold it; hence 
one who buys to sell again, a retailer, a second- 
hand dealer, a middleman. The word is 
formed in the same way as tapster, one who 
taps a cask. In modern use some restricting 
word is generally prefixed: as bill-broker 
cotton-broker, ship-broker, stock-broker, etc! 

Bromide. A person given to making trite 
remarks; later, the remark itself. It was first 
used in this sense by the American novelist 
Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) in his novel Are 
You a Bromide? 1906. 

Brontes (bron' tez). A blacksmith personified * 
m Greek mythology, one of the Cyclops. The 
name signifies Thunder. 

Not with such weight, to frame the forky brand 
The ponderous hammer falls from Brontes' hand. 
HOOLE: Jerusalem Delivered, Bk. xx. 
Broom. The small wild shrub with yellow 
flowers (Latin planta genista) from which the 
English royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, took 
their name. The founder of the dynasty 
Geoffrey of Anjou (father of Henry II) is said 
to have worn a sprig of it in his hat. The 
name was officially adopted by Richard of 
York (father of Richard III) about 1460. 

Broom. A broom is hung at the masthead 
of snips about to be sold to be "swept away " 
The idea is popularly taken from Admiral van 
I romp (see PENNANT); but probably this 
allusion is more witty than true. The custom 
of hanging up something special to attract 
notice is very common; thus an old piece of 
carpet from a window indicates household 
furniture for sale; a wisp of straw indicates 
oysters for sale; a bush means wine for sale, 
etc., etc. 

New brooms sweep clean. Those newly 
appointed to an office are as a rule very 
zealous and sometimes ruthless in sweeping 
away old customs. * 

Brosier-my-dame. A phrase used at Eton 
for eating out of house and home. When a 
dame keeps an unusually bad table, the boys 
agree together on a day to eat, pocket, or waste 
everything eatable in the house. The censure 
is well understood, and the hint is generally 
effective. (Gr. broso, to eat ) 




Brother. A fellow-member of a religious 
order. Friar, from Lat frater, and Fr. frere, 
is really the same word. 

Also used as the official title of certain 
members of livery companies, of the members 
(always known as "Elder Brethren") of 
Trinity House (q.v.~), and the official mode of 
address of one barrister to another. 

Brother used attributively with another 
substantive denotes a fellow-member of the 
same calling, order, corporation, etc. Thus 
brother birch, a fellow-schoolmaster, brother- 
blade, a fellow-soldier or companion in arms, 
brother bung, a fellow licensed victualler, 
brother mason, a fellow freemason, etc., etc. 

Brother Jonathan. When Washington was 
in want of ammunition, he called a council of 
officers, but no practical suggestion could be 
offered. "We must consult brother Jona- 
than," said the general, meaning His Excel- 
lency Jonathan Trumbull, governor of the 
State of Connecticut. This was done, and the 
difficulty was remedied. "To consult Brother 
Jonathan" then became a set phrase, and 
Brother Jonathan became the "John Bull" of 
the United States. 

Brougham (bro' am, brum). In old horse- 
drawn days this was the name given to a 
closed four-wheel carnage drawn by one horse, 
very similar to the old "growler" horse cab. 
It was named after Lord Brougham (1778- 
1868), a prominent Regency and Victorian 
lawyer and politician. 

Browbeat. To beat or put a man down with 
sternness, arrogance, insolence, etc.; from 
knitting the brows and frowning on one's ^ 

Brown. A copper coin, a penny; so called 
from its colour. Similarly a sovereign is a 
"yellow boy." 

To be done brown. To be deceived, taken 
in; to be "roasted." This is one of many 
similar expressions connected with cooking. 

Browned off. This is a slang phrase that 
came into general use during World War II, 
meaning "fed up," bored or disillusioned. 
Various derivations of the phrase have been 
suggested, but none of them appears satis- 

Brown Bess. A familiar name for the old 
flint-lock musket formerly in use in the 
British Army. In 1808 a process of browning 
was introduced, but the term was common 
long before this, and probably referred to the 
colour of the stock. Bess is unexplained; but 
may be a counterpart to Bill (see below). 

Brown Bill. A kind of halbert used by 
English foot-soldiers before muskets were 
employed. They were staff weapons, with 
heads like bill-hooks but furnished with spikes 
at the top and back. The brown probably 
refers to the rusty condition in which they were 
kept; though, on the other hand, it may stand 
for burnished (Dut. brun, shining), as in the old 
phrases "my bonnie brown sword," "brown 
as glass," etc. Keeping the weapons bright, 
however, is a modern fashion; our fore- 

fathers preferred the honour of blood stains. 
In the following extract the term denotes the 
soldiers themselves : 

Lo, with a band of bowmen and of pikes, 

Brown bills and targetiers. 

MARLOWE: Edward 77, 1, 1324. 

Brown Bomber. Joe Louis (b. 1914), un- 
defeated heavyweight champion of the world 
from 1937 until his retirement in 1949. On Ms 
return in 1950 he was defeated by Ezzard 
Charles. He began his professional career 
in 1934, winning 27 fights, all but four by 
knockouts. He won the heavyweight title 
from Jim Braddock and successfully defended 
it more than 22 times before joining up in the 
U.S. army. Louis is possibly the greatest 
heavyweight boxer ever known. The phrase 
applied to him springs from his being a Negro 
and (presumably) from the lethal power of his 

Brown, Jones, and Robinson. The typifica- 
tion of middle-class Englishmen; from the 
adventures of three Continental tourists of 
these names which were told and illustrated in 
Punch in the 1870s by Richard Doyle. These 
sketches hold up to ridicule the gaucherie, 
insular ideas, vulgarity, extravagance, conceit, 
and snobbism that too often characterize the 
class, and are in themselves an almost un- 
surpassed example of Victorian snobbery in 
their senseless and ill-mannered jeers at un- 
educated people. 

Brown study. Absence of mind; apparent 
thought, but real vacuity. The corresponding 
French expression explains it sombre reverie. 
Sombre and brun both mean sad, melancholy, 
gloomy, dull. 

Invention flags, his brain grows muddy, 
And black despair succeeds brown study. 

CONGREVE: An Impossible Thins. 

Brownie. The house spirit in Scottish 
superstition. He is called m England Robin 
Goodfellow. At night he is supposed to busy 
himself in doing little jobs for the family over 
which he presides. Farms are his favourite 
abode. Brownies are brown or tawny spirits, 
in opposition to fairies, which are fair or 
elegant ones. See also GIRL GUIDE. 

It is not long since every family of considerable 
substance was haunted by a spirit they called Brovray, 
which did several sorts of work; and this was the 
reason why they gave him offerings ... on what 
they called " Browny's stone." MARTIN: Scotland, 

Brownists. Followers of Robert Brown, of 
Rutlandshire, a vigorous Puritan controversial- 
ist in the time of Queen Elizabeth. The later 
"Independents" held pretty well the same 
religious tenets as the Brownists. Sir Andrew 
Aguecheek says: 

I'd as lief be a Brownist as a politician. 

SHAKESPEARE: Twelfth Night, iii, 2. 

Browse his Jib, To. A sailors* phrase, mean- 
ing to drmk till the face is flushed and swollen. 
The jib means the face, and to browse here 
means "to fatten." A piece of slang formed 
on the nautical rjhrase "to bowse the jib,'* 
the metaphor signifies that the man is "tight." 

Bruin (broo' in). In Butler's Hudibras, one of 
the leaders arrayed against the hero. His 
prototype in real life was Talgol, a Newgate 

Bruin 150 

butcher who obtained a captaincy for valour 
at Naseby. He marched next to Orsin (Joshua 
Gosling, landlord of the bear-gardens at 

Sir Brain. The bear in the famous German 
beast-epic, Reynard the Fox. 

Brumaire (brii'mar). The month in the 
French Republican Calendar from October 
23rd to November 21st. It was named from 
brume y fog (Lat. bruma, winter). The cele- 
brated 18th Brumaire (November 9th, 1799) 
was the day on which the Directory was over- 
thrown and Napoleon established his supre- 

Brumby. An Australian wild horse. The 
origin of the word is obscure. 
Brummagem (brum' a jem). Worthless or 
very inferior metal articles made in imitation 
of better ones. The word is a local form of 
the name Birmingham, which is the great mart 
and manufactory of gilt t9ys, cheap jewellery, 
imitation gems, and the like. 
Brunhild (broon' hild). Daughter of the 
King of Issland (i.e. Isalaland, in the Low 
Countries), beloved by Gunther, one of the 
two great chieftains in the Nibelungenlied. 
She was to be carried off by force, and Gun- 
ther asked his friend Siegfried to help him. 
Siegfried contrived the matter by snatching 
from her the talisman which was her protector, 
' but she never forgave him for his treachery. 

Brunt. To bear the brunt. To bear the worst 
of the heat, and collision. The "brunt of a 
battle" is the hottest part of the fight. Cp. 

Brunt is partly imitative (like dinf), and is 
probably influenced by the Icel. bruna, to 
advance with the speed of fire, as a standard m 
the heat of battle. 

Brush. The tail of a fox or squirrel, which is 
brush-like and bushy. 

He brushed by me. He just touched me as 
he went quickly past. Hence also brush, a 
slight skirmish. 

Give it another brash. A little more 
attention; bestow a little more labour on it; 
return it to the file for a little more polish. 

To brash up. To renovate or revive; to 
bring again into use what has been neglected 
as, "I must brush up my French.'* 

Brut (brut). A rhyming chronicle of British 
history beginning with the mythical Brut, or 
Brute 0?.v.), and so named from him. Wace's 
Le Roman de Biut, of Brut d'Angleterre, 
written in French about 1150, is a rhythmical 
version of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History 
with additional legends. It is here that first 
mention is made of Arthur's Round Table. 
Wace's work formed the basis of Layamon's 
Brut (early 13th cent.), a versified history of 
England from the fall of Troy to A.D. 689 
Layamon's poem contains 32,250 lines ; Wace's 
rather over 14,000. See ARTHUR. 

Brute or Brutus (broot). In the mythological 
history of England, the first king of the 

Bubble Act 

Britons was son of Sylvius (grandson of 
Ascanius and great-grandson of ^Eneas). 
Having inadvertently killed his father, he first 
took refuge in Greece and then in Britain. In 
remembrance of Troy, he called the capital of 
his kingdom Troy-novant (#.v.), now London. 

Brutum fulmen (broo' turn fuT men) (Lat.). A 
noisy but harmless threatening; an innocuous 

The phrase is from Pliny's "Bruta fulmina 
et vana, ut quce nulla veniant ratione natures" 
(II, xliii, 113) Thunderbolts that strike 
blindly and harmlessly, being traceable to no 
natural cause. 

The Actors do not value themselves upon the- 
Clap, but regard it as a mere Brutum fiilmen, or 
empty Noise, when it has not the sound of the Oaken 
Plant in it. ADDISON: Spectator (November 29th, 

Brutus, Junius (broo' tus joo' ni iis). In 
legend, the first consul of Rome, fabled to have 
held office about 509 B.C. He condemned to 
death his own two sons for joining a con- 
spiracy to restore to the throne the banished 
Tarquin. He was 

The public father who the private quelled, 
And on the dread tribunal sternly sat. 

THOMSON: Winter. 

Brutus, Marcus (85-42 B.C.). Czesar's friend, 
who joined the conspirators to murder him 
because he made himself a king. 

And thou, unhappy Brutus, kind of heart, 
Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urged, 
Lifted the Roman steel against thy friend. 

THOMSON: Winter, 324-6. 

Et tu, Brute. Thou, too, Brutus! The 
reference is to the exclamation of Julius Caesar 
when he saw that his old friend was one of the 
conspirators engaged in stabbing him to death. 

The Spanish Brutus. Alphonso Perez de 
Guzman (1258-1320). While he was governor, 
Castile was besieged by Don Juan, who had 
revolted from his brother, Sancho IV. Juan, 
who held in captivity one of the sons of Guz- 
man, threatened to cut his throat unless 
Guzman surrendered the city. Guzman re- 
plied, "Sooner than be a traitor, I would 
myself lend you a sword to slay him," and he 
threw a sword over the city wall. The son, 
we are told, was slain by the father's sword 
before his eyes. 

Bub. Drink; particularly strong beer. 

Drunk with Helicon's waters and double-brewed 
bub. PRIOR: To a Person who wrote ill. 

Bubastis. Greek name of Bast, or Pasht, the 
Diana of Egyptian mythology; she was 
daughter of Isis and sister of Horus, and her 
sacred animal was the cat. See CAT. 

Bubble, or Bubble Scheme. A project or 
scheme of no sterling worth and of very 
ephemeral duration as worthless and frail as 
a bubble. The word was in common use in 
the 18th century to denote a swindle. See 

The Bubble Act. An Act of George I, 
passed in 1719, its object being to punish the 
promoters of bubble schemes. It was 
repealed in 1825. 

Bubble and squeak 



Bubble and squeak. Cold boiled potatoes 
and greens fried up together, sometimes with 
bits of cold meat as well. They first bubbled 
in water when boiled, and afterwards hissed or 
squeaked in the frying-pan. 
Bucca (biik' a). A goblin of the wind, sup- 
posed by the ancient inhabitants of Cornwall 
to foretell shipwrecks; also a sprite fabled to 
live in the tin-mines. 

Buccaneer (btik a nerO- Properly, a seller of 
smoke-dried meat, from the Brazilian word 
boitcan, a gridiron or frame on which flesh was 
barbecued, which was adopted in France, and 
boucamer formed from it. Boucanier was first 
applied to the French settlers in Hayti, whose 
business it was to hunt animals for their skins 
and who frequently combined with this 
business that of a marauder and pirate. 
Buccaneer thus became applied to any desper- 
ate, lawless, piratical adventurer. 

Bucentaur (bQ sen' tor). The name of the 
Venetian state-galley employed by the Doge 
when he went on Ascension Day to wed the 
Adriatic. The word is Gr. bous, ox, and 
centauros, centaur; and the original galley was 
probably ornamented with a man-headed ox. 
The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord 
And, annual marriage now no more renew'd, 
The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored, 
Neglected garment of her widowhood. 

BYRON: Childe Harold, iv, 9. 
The last Bucentaur, third of the name, was 
destroyed by the French in 1798. See BRIDE 

Bucephalos (bull-headed). A horse. Strictly 
speaking, the favourite charger of Alexander 
the Great. 

Buchan's Weather Periods (btt' kan). Alex- 
ander Buchan (1829-1907) was secretary of the 
Scottish Meteorological Society which, under 
his influence, built an observatory on Ben 
Nevis. As a result of many years' observation 
of weather and temperatures he worked out a 
curve of recurrent periods, six cold and two 
warm, in the year. The cold periods are 
Feb. 7-10; April 11-14; May 9-14; June 29- 
July 4; Aug. 6-11; Nov. 6-12. The warm 

Eeriods are July 12-15; Aug. 12-15. It should 
e remembered that these dates are the mean 
of many observations and do not predict the 
probable weather for every year. 

Buchanites. A sect of fanatics who appeared 
in the west of Scotland in 1783. They were 
named after Mrs. or Lucky Buchan, their 
founder, who called herself "Friend Mother 
in the Lord," claiming to be the woman 
mentioned in Rev. xii, and maintaining that 
the Rev. Hugh White, a convert, was the 

I never heard of alewife that turned preacher, 
except Luckie Buchan in the West. 

SCOTT: St. Ronarfs Well, c. ii. 

Buck. A dandy; a gay and spirited fellow; a 
fast young man. 

A most tremendous buck he was, as he sat there 
serene, in state, driving his greys. 

THACKERAY: Vanity Fair, ch. vi. 

The word is also American slang for a dollar. 

Buck-basket. A linen-basket. To buck 
is to wash clothes in lye. When Cade says 

his mother was "descended from the Lacies," 
two men overhear him, and say, "She was a 
pedlar's daughter, but not being able to travel 
with her furred pack, she washes bucks here 
at home" (2 Henry VI, iv, 2). The word is 
probably connected with Ger. beuche, clothes 
steeped in lye, and Fr. buer, to steep m lye; 
and perhaps with A.S. buc, a pitcher. 

Buck-bean. The popular name of Meny- 
anthes trifoliata, a water-plant; an Elizabethan 
translation of the Flemish name bocks boonen 
(Mod. Dut. bocksboon), goat's beans. The 
name bog-bean, also given to this plant, is 
considerably later. 

Bucket, To. An obsolete slang term for to 

To give the bucket, to get the bucket. To 
give (or receive) notice of dismissal from 
employment. Here bucket is synonymous 
with sack (q.v.). 

To kick the bucket. To die. Bucket here is 
a beam or yoke (O.Fr. buquet^ Fr. trebuchet, a 
balance), and in East Anglia the big frame in 
which a newly slaughtered pig is suspended by 
the beds is still called a "bucket." An 
alternative theory is offered that the bucket 
was a pail kicked away by a suicide, who 
stood on it the better to hang himself. 

Bucket-shop. A term (probably from the 
old slang "to bucket," above} which originated 
in America, denoting the office of an "outside" 
stock-broker, i.e. one who is not a member of 
the official Stock Exchange. As these offices 
are largely used for the sole purpose of 
gambling in stocks and shares as apart from 
making investments, and as many of them have 
been run by very shady characters, the name is 
rarely used except with a bad significance. 
Buckhorn. See STOCKFISH. 
Buckhorse. A severe blow or slap on the face. 
So called from John Smith, a pugilist of about 
1740, whose nickname it was. "Buckhorse" 
was so insensible to pain that, for a small sum, 
he would allow anyone to strike him on the side 
of the face with all his force. 
Buckingham. Fuller, in his Worthies, speaks 
of the beech-trees as the most characteristic 
feature of this county, and the name is derived 
from the Bocingas, or dwellers among the 
beech-trees (A.S. boc), a tribe which anciently 
inhabited that county. 

Off with his head! So much for Buckingham I 
A famous line, often searched for in vain in 
Shakespeare's Richard III. It is not to be 
found there, but is in Act iv, Sc. lii, of Colley 
Gibber's The Tragical History of Richard III, 
altered from Shakespeare (1700). 
Buckle. I can't buckle to. I can't give my 
mind to work. The allusion is to buckling 
on one's armour or belt. 

To cut the buckle. To caper about, to heel 
and toe it in dancing. In jigs the two feet 
buckle or twist into each other with great 

Throth, it wouldn't lave a laugh in you to see the 
parson dancin* down the road on his way home, and 
the ministher and methodist praicher cuttin' the 
buckle as they went along. W. B. YEATS: Fairy 
Tales of the Irish Peasantry^ p. 98. 

To talk buckle. To talk about marriage. 




Buckler. See SHIELDS. 

Bucklersbury (London) was at one time the 
noted street for druggists and herbalists; 
hence Falstaff says: 

I cannot cog, and say thou art this and that, like 
a many of these lisping hawthorn buds, that come 
like women in men's apparel, and smell like Bucklers- 
bury in simple time. 

SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, iii, 3. 

Stow tells us that "the Peperers and 
Grocers'* had their shops there. 

Buckley's Chance (Austr.). An extremely 
remote chance. Two explanations of the 
phrase's origin exist. According to the first 
it comes from a convict named Buckley who 
escaped in 1803 and lived over thirty years with 
Aborigines. The second explanation derives 
it from the well-known Melbourne business 
house of Buckley and Nunn hence the pun 
"There are just two chances, Buckley's or 

Buckmaster's Light Infantry. See REGIMENTAL 

Buckram. A strong coarse kind of cloth 
stiffened with gum; perhaps so called (like 
Astrakhan^ from the Eastern city) from 
Bokhara. In the Middle Ages the name was 
that of a valuable fabric that came from the 

Men in buckram. Hypothetical men exist- 
ing only in the brain of the imagines The 
allusion is to the vaunting tale of Falstaff to 
Prince Henry (Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV, ii, 
4). Hence, "a buckram army," one the 
strength of which exists only in the imagina- 

Buckshee (buk' she). This word undoubtedly 
comes from baksheesh (#.v.) though in its new 
usage it means something given away free, 
something thrown in gratis. 

Buck-tooth. A large projecting front-tooth; 
formerly also called a butter-tooth. 

Buckwheat. A corruption of beech-wheat 
(A.S. hoc, beech; see BUCKINGHAM), so called 
because its seeds are triangular, like beech- 
mast. The botanical name is Fagopyrum 

The buckwheat 

Whitened broad acres, sweetening with its floweis 
The August wind. 

BRYANT: The Fountain, stanza 7. 

Buddha (bud' a) (Sanskrit, "the Enlightened"). 
The title given to Prince Siddhartha or Gaut- 
ama (g.v.), also called (from the name of his 
tribe, the Sakhyas) Sakya muni, the founder of 
Buddhism, who lived from about 623 B.C to 
543 B.C. 

Buddhism. The system of religion in- 
augurated by the Buddha in India in the 6th 
century B.C. The general outline of the 
system is that the world is a transient reflex of 
deity; that the soul is a "vital spark" of deity; 
and that it will be bound to matter till its 
wearer" has, by divine contemplation, so 
purged and purified it that it is fit to be 
absorbed into the divine essence. 

The four sublime verities of Buddhism are as 
follows : 

(1) Pain exists. 

(2) The cause of pain is "birth sin." The 
Buddhist supposes that man has passed through 
many previous existences, and all of the heaped-up 
sins accumulated in these previous states constitute 
man's "birth-sin." 

(3) Pain is ended only by Nirvana. 

i (4) The way that leads to Nirvana is right faith, 
right judgment, right language, right purpose, right 
practice, right obedience, right memory, and right 
meditation (eight in all). 

The abstract nature of the religion, together 
with the overgrowth of its monastic system and 
the superior vitality and energy of Brahminism, 
caused it to decline in India itself; but it spread 
rapidly in the surrounding countries and took 
so permanent a hold that it is computed that at 
the present time it has some 140 million 
adherents, of whom lOf millions are in India, 
and the rest principally in Ceylon, Tibet, 
China, and Japan. 

Esoteric Buddhism. See THEOSOPHY. 
Bude or Gurney Light. A very bright light 
obtained by supplying an argand gas-jet with 
oxygen, invented by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney 
(1793-1875) about 1834, and first used in a 
lighthouse at Bude, Cornwall. 

Budge. Lambskin with the wool dressed 
outwards, worn on the edge of capes, gradu- 
ates* hoods, and so on. Hence the word is 
used attributively and as an adjective to denote 
pedantry, stiff formality, etc. 

O foolishness of men' that lend their ears 
To those budge-doctors of the stoic fur. 

MILTON: Comus, 706. 

Budge Row, Cannon Street, is so called 
because it was chiefly occupied by budge- 

Budge Bachelors. A company of men 
clothed in long gowns lined with budge or 
lambs' wool, who used to accompany the Lord 
Mayor of London at his inauguration. 
Budgeree (buj' er re). An Aboriginal Austra- 
lian word meaning excellent, especially good. 
Budget. The statement which the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer lays annually before the 
House of Commons, respecting the national 
income and expenditure, taxes, and salaries. 
The word is the old Fr. bougette, a wallet, 
and the present use arose from the custom of 
bringing to the House the papers pertaining to 
these matters in a leather bag, and laying them 
on the table. Hence, to budget, to prepare a 
budget or estimate. 

A budget of news. A bagful of news, a large 
stock of news. 

Cry budget. A watchword or shibboleth; 
short for Mumbudget (#.v.). Slender says to 

We have a nay-word how to know one another. 
I come to her in white and cry mum . she cries budget: 
and by that we know one another. 

SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, v, 2. 
Buff. Properly, soft, stout leather prepared 
from the skin of the buffalo; hence, any light- 
coloured leather; and hence the figurative use, 
the bare skin. "To stand in buff" is to stand 
without clothing m one's bare skin. "To 
strip to the buff" is to strip to the skin. 




To stand buff. To stand firm, without 
flinching. Here buff means a blow or buffet 

And for the good old cause stood buff, 
'Gainst many a bitter kick and cuff. 

BUTLER : Hudibras's Epitaph. 
I must even stand buff and outface him. FIELDING. 

The phrase also occurs as to stand bluff. 

Sheridan, in his School for Scandal, ii, 3, 
says : 

That he should have stood bluff to old bachelor 
so long, and sink into a husband at last. 

Here the allusion is probably nautical; a 
"bluff shore" is one with a bold and almost 
perpendicular front. 


Buffalo Bill. This was the name made 
famous by William Frederick Cody (1846- 
1917), one of the world's greatest showmen. 
He was born in Iowa and when little more than 
a boy was a rider of the Pony Express (#.v.). 
In 1861 he became a scout and guide for the 
U.S. army, and fought in the Civil War. In 
1867 he made a contract to supply the labourers 
constructing the Kansas Pacific railway with 
buffalo meat, hence his sobriquet. Later on 
he was fighting once more in the Indian wars 
and single-handed killed Yellowhand, the 
Cheyenne chief. In 1883 he organized his 
Wild West show, which he brought to Europe 
for the first time in 1887. He paid various 
visits after this and toured the Continent in 
1910. He died at Denver. It is no exaggera- 
tion to say that his show, with its Indians, 
cowboys, sharp-shooters and rough-riders has 
never been surpassed. 

Buffer. A chap, a silly old fellow. In M.E. 
buffer meant a stutterer, and the word is used 
in Is. xxii, 4, in Wyclif s version, where the 
Authorized Version reads, "And the tongue 
of the stammerers shall be ready to speak 

Buffer of a railway carriage is an apparatus 
to rebuff or deaden the force of collision. 

Buffer State. A small, self-governing state 
separating two larger states, and thus tending 
to prevent hostilities between the two. The 
term seems to have originated on the north- 
west frontiers of India. 
Buffoon. Properly, one who puffs out his 
cheeks, and makes a ridiculous explosion by 
causing them suddenly to collapse (Ital. 
buffone, from buffare, to puff out the cheeks, 
hence, to jest). 

Bug. An old word for goblin, sprite, bogy; 
probably from Welsh bwg, a ghost The word 
is used in Coverdale's Bible, which is hence 
known as the "Bug Bible" (see BIBLE, 
SPECIALLY NAMED), and survives in bogle, bogy, 
and in bugaboo, a monster or goblin, intro- 
duced into the tales of the old Italian roman- 
cers, and bugbear, a scarecrow, or sort of hob- 
goblin in the form of a bear. 

For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold, 
Be but as bugs to fearen babes witfaall. 

, SPENSER: Faerie Queene, II, xii, 25. 
Warwick was a bug that feared us all. 

SHAKESPEARE: 3 Henry IV, v, 3. 
To the world no bugbear is so great 
As want of figure and a small estate. 

POPE: Satires* lii, 67-68. 

Making believe 

At desperate doings with a bauble-sword 
And other bugaboo-and-baby-work. 

BROWNING: Ring and the Book, v, 949. 

In common usage the word bug is applied 
to almost any kind of insect or germ, though 
more especially to a beetle or an insect that 
creeps or crawls. Colloquially it can be used to 
refer to any mental ^infection, such as "he has 
the money bug" of one whose sole interest is 
making money. 

A big bug. A person of importance 
especially in his own eyes; a swell; a pompous 
or conceited man. There is an old adjective 
bug, meaning pompous, proud. 

Dainty sport toward, JDalyall! sit, come sit, 
Sit and be quiet: here are kingly bug- words. 
FORD: Perkin Warbeck, IH, ii. 

Buhl. An incorrect form of Boulle <#.v.). 

Bulbul. An Eastern bird of the thrush 
family, noted for its beautiful singing; hence 
applied to the nightingale. The word is 
Persian, and was familiarized by Tom Moore. 

'Twas like the notes, half-ecstasy, half pain, 

The bulbul utters. 
MOORE: Lai la Rookh (Veiled Prophet, i, 14). 

Bull. A blunder, or inadvertent contradiction 
of terms, for which the Irish are proverbial. 
The British Apollo (No. 22, 1708) says the term 
is derived from one Obadiah Bull, an Irish 
lawyer of London, in the reign of Henry VII, 
whose blundering in this way was notorious, 
but there is no corroboration of this story, 
which must be put down as ben trovato, 
There was a M.E. verb bull, to befool, to cheat, 
and there is the O.Fr. boule or bole, fraud, 
trickery; the word may be connected with one 
of these. 

Slang for a five-shilling piece. ** Half a 
bull " is half a crown. Possibly from bidla 
(see POPE'S BULL below); but, as bulVs eye was 
an older slang term for the same thing, this is 
doubtful. Hood, in one of his comic sketches, 
speaks of a crier who, being apprehended, 
"swallowed three hogs (shillings) and a bull." 
It is also short for bull's eye (q.v.). 

In Stock Exchange phraseology, a bull is a 
speculative purchase for a rise; also a buyer 
who does this, the reverse of a bear (q.v.). A 
bull-account is a speculation made in the hope 
that the stock purchased will rise before the 
day of settlement. 

In astronomy, the English name of the 
northern constellation (Lat. Taurus) which 
contains Aldebaran and the Pleiades; also the 
sign of the zodiac that the sun enters about 
April 22nd and leaves a month later. It is 
between Aries and Gemini, The time for 
ploughing, which in the East was performed by 
oxen or bulls. 

At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun, 
And the bright Bull receives him. 

THOMSON: Spring, 26. 

The Pope's bull. An edict or mandate 
issued by the Pope, so called from the heavy 
leaden seal (Lat. build) appended to the 
document. See GOLDEN BULL. 

Bull is also the name given to a drink made 
from the swillings of empty spirit-casks. See 




A bull ID a china shop. A maladroit hand 
interfering with a delicate business; one who 
produces reckless destruction. 

A brazen bull. An instrument of torture. 

He may bear a bull that hath borne a calf 
(Erasmus: Proverbs) "He that accustometh 
hym-selfe to lytle thynges, by lytle and lytle 
shal be able to go a waye with greater thynges'* 
(Ta verner). 

To score a bull. See BULL'S-EYE. 
To take the bull by the horns. To attack or 
encounter a threatened danger fearlessly; to go 
forth boldly to meet a difficulty. 
John Bull. See JOHN BULL. 
Bull-baiting. Bull- and bear-baiting were 
popular sports in Tudor and Stuart England. 
The beasts were tethered and set upon by dogs 
specially trained for this "sport." In his Di^ry 
for June 16th, 1670, John Evelyn describes 
what he calls "a rude and dirty pastime." Bait- 
ing was not prohibited in England until 1835. 
Bull-ring. In Spain, the arena where bull- 
fights take place; in England, the place where 
bulls used to be baited. The name still 
survives in many English towns, as in Birming- 

Bull*s-eye. The inner disk or centre of a 

To make a bull's-eye, or to score a bull. To 
gain some signal advantage; a successful coup. 
To fire or shoot an arrow right into the centre 
disk of the target. 

A black globular sweetmeat with whitish 
streaks, usually strongly flavoured with pepper- 

Also, a small cloud suddenly appearing, 
seemingly in violent motion, and expanding 
till it covers the entire vault of heaven, 
producing a tumult of wind and rain (1 Kings 
xviii, 44). 

Also, a thick disk or boss of glass. Hence, 
a bulVs-eye lantern> also called a buWs-eye. 

Bufl sessions. In U.S.A. this phrase is 
applied to long talks, among men only, about 
life in general or some particular problem. 

Bull and Gate. Bull and Mouth. Public- 
house signs. A corruption of Boulogne Gate 
or Mouth, adopted out of compliment to 
Henry VIII, who took Boulogne in 1544. 
The public-house sign consisting of a plain (or 
coloured) bull is usually with reference to the 
cognizance of the house of Clare. The sign 
of the famous Bull and Mouth Inn in Alders- 
gate St., London, bore the words: 
Milo the Cretonian 
An ox slew with his fist, 
And ate it up at one meal, 
Ye gods, what a glorious twist. 
The bull and the boar were signs used by the 
partisans of Clare, and Richard, Duke of 
Gloucester (Richard III). 
Bulldog. A man of relentless, savage dis- 
position is sometimes so called. A "bulldog 
courage" is one that flinches from no danger. 
The "bulldog" was the dog formerly used in 

In University slang the "bulldogs" or 
'bullets'* are the two myrmidons (q.v.) of the 

proctor, who attend his heels like dogs, and 
are ready to spring on any offending under- 

Boys of the bulldog breed. Britons 
especially with reference to their pugnacity. 
The phrase comes from the song, "Sons of the 
sea, all British born," that was immensely 
popular at the close of the 19th century. 
Bullet. Every bullet has its billet. Nothing 
happens by chance, and no act is altogether 
without some effect. 

Bulletin. An official report of an officer to his 
superior, or of medical attendants respecting 
the health of persons of notoriety. The word 
is borrowed from the French, who took it 
from the Ital. bulletmo, a passport or lottery 
ticket, from bulla (see POPE'S BULL above). 
because they were authenticated by an official 
bulla or seal. 

News bulletin is the term used for the 
periodical broadcasts of news by radio, etc. 

Bulling the barrel. Pouring water into a rum 
cask, when it is nearly empty, to prevent its 
leaking. The water, which gets impregnated 
with the spirit and is frequently drunk, is 
called bull 

Seamen talk of bulling the teapot (making a 
second brew), bulling the coffee, etc. 

Bullion. Gold or silver in the mass as dis- 
tinguished from manufactured articles or 
coined money; also, a fringe made of gold or 
silver wire. The word is from the Fr. bouillon, 
boiling, and seems to refer to the "boiling," 
or melting, of the metal before it can be utilized. 

Bully. To overbear with words. A bully is a 
blustering menacer. The original meaning of 
the noun was "sweetheart," as in 

I kiss his dirty shoe, and from heart-string 
I love the lovely bully. 

SHAKESPEARE: Henry V, iv, 1. 

It is probably to be derived from Dut. boel, 
a lover; and the later meaning may have been 
influenced by Dut. bid. a bull, also a clown, 
and bulderen, to bluster. 

Bully-beef. Tinned, compressed beef. 
Probably from Fr. bowlli, boiled meat. 

Bully-rag. To intimidate; bully-ragging is 
abusive intimidation. According to Halliwell, 
a rag is a scold, and hence a "ragging" 
means a scolding. 

Bully-rook. Shakespeare uses the term 
(Merry Wives, I, lii, 2) for a jolly companion, 
but it later came to mean a hired ruffian. 
Bum. An old word, now almost restricted to 
schoolboy slang, for the buttocks, posterior. 
It is an American term for a vagrant; hence a 
slang word describing any worthless fellow. 

Bum-bailiff. The Fr. pousse-cul seems to 
favour the notion that bum-bailiff is no 
corruption. These officers, who made an 
arrest for debt by touching the debtor on the 
back, are frequently referred to as bums. 

Scout me for him at the corner of the orchard, like 
a bum-bailiff. Shakespeare: TwelftfaNisht, ni, 4. 

Bum-boat. A small wide boat to carry 
provisions to vessels lying off shore. Also 
called "dirt-boats," being used for removing 
filth from ships lying in the Thames. 


Bumble. A beadle. So called from the 
officious, overbearing beadle in Dickens*s 
Oliver Twist', hence bumbledom, fussy 
officialism, especially on the part of the parish 
officers; also parochial officials collectively. 
Bummaree. A class of middlemen or fish- 
jobbers in Billingsgate Market, whose business 
is bummareemg, i.e. buying parcels offish from 
the salesmen, and then retailing them. The 
etymology of the word is unknown, but it has 
been suggested that it is a corruption of bonne 
maree, good fresh fish, maree being a French 
term for all kinds of fresh sea-fish. 
Bumper. A full glass, generally connected 
with a "toast." It may be so called because 
the surface of the wine "bumps up" in the 
middle, but it is more likely from the notion 
that it is a "bumping" or "thumping," i.e. a 
large glass. 

Bumpkin. A loutish person. Dut. boomken, 
a little tree, a small block; hence, a blockhead. 
Bumptious. Arrogant, full of mighty airs and 
graces; apt to take offence at presumed slights. 
A humorous formation from bump, probably 
modelled on presumptuous. 
Bun. A tail. See BUNNY. 

Bun. "Hot cross buns" on Good Friday 
were supposed to be made of the dough 
kneaded for the host, and were marked with 
the cross accordingly. As they are said to 
keep for twelve months without turning 
mouldy, some persons still hang up one or 
more in their house as a "charm against evil." 

It may be remarked that the Greeks offered 
to Apollo, Diana, Hecate, and the Moon, 
cakes with "horns." Such a cake was called 
a bous, and (it is said) never grew mouldy. 
The round bun represented the full moon, and 
the "cross" symbolized the four quarters. 
Good Friday comes this month: the old woman runs 
With one a penny, two a penny "hot cross buns". 
Whose virtue is, if you believe what's said, 
They'll not grow mouldy like the common bread. 
Poor Robin's Almanack, 1733. 
Buna. The German name for synthetic rubber 
developed during World War II. It was made 
by the polymerization of butadrene. 
Bunce. A slang term for money; particularly 
for something extra or unexpected in the way 
of profit. Thought to be a corruption of 
bonus (g.v.). 

Bunch, Mother. A noted London ale-wife of 
the late Elizabethan period, on whose name 
have been fathered many jests and anecdotes, 
and who is mentioned more than once in 
Elizabethan drama, e.g. 

Now, now, mother Bunch, how dost thou? What, 
dost frowne, Queen Gwyniver, dost wrinckle? 

DEKKER: Satiromastix, iii, 1. 

In 1604 was published PasquiVs Jests, mixed 
with Mother Bunches Merriments', and in the 
"Epistle to the Merrie Reader" is given a 
humorous description of her 

She spent most of her time in telling of tales, 
and when she laughed, she was heard from Aldgate to 
the Monuments at Westminster, and all Southwarke 
stood in amazement, the Lyons in the Tower, and the 
Bulls and Beares of Parish Garden roar'd louder than 
the great roaring Megge ... She dwelt in Cornhill, 
neere the Exchange, and sold strong Ale ... and 
lived an hundred, seventy and five yeares, two dayes 
and a quarter, and halfe a minute. 

B.D. 6 

155 Bunkum 

Other books were named after her, such, 
for instance, as Mother Bunch's Closet newly 
Broke Open, containing rare secrets of art and 
nature, tried and experienced by learned 
philosophers, and recommended to all in- 
genious young men and maids, teaching them 
how to get good wives and husbands. 

Bunch of Fives. Slang for the hand or fist. 

Bundle Off. Get away. To bundle a person 
off, is to send him away unceremoniously. 
Similar to pack off. The allusion is obvious. 

Bundles for Britain. An organization 
founded in U.S.A., January 1940, by Mrs. 
Wales Latham to send comfort parcels to 
Britain during World War II. 

Bundle of sticks. Msop, in one of his 
fables, shows that sticks one by one may be 
readily broken ; not so when several are bound 
together in a bundle. The lesson taught is 
that "Union gives strength." 

The symbol was adopted by, and gave its 
name to the political system of Fascism, from 
Lat. fasces, a bundle of sticks. 

Bundling. The curious and now obsolete New 
England custom of engaged couples going to- 
bed together fully dressed and thus spending 
the night. It was a recognized proceeding to 
which no suggestion of impropriety was- 

Stopping occasionally in the villages to eat pumpkins 
pies, dance at country frolics, and bundle with the 
Yankee lasses. WASHINGTON IRVING: Knickerbocker. 

The same custom existed in Wales, 

Bung. A cant term for a publican; also for 
a toper. "Away, . . . you filthy bung," says- 
Doll to Pistol (2 Henry IV, ii, 4). 

Bung up. Close up, as a bung closes a cask. 

Bungalow. Originally, the house of a Euro- 
pean in India, generally of one floor only with 
a verandah all round it, and the roof thatched 
to keep off the hot rays of the sun. A dak- 
bungalow is a caravansary or house built by 
the Government for the use of travellers. 
(Hindustani, bangla, of Bengal.) 

Bungay. See FRIAR BUNGAY. 

Go to Bungay with you! i.e. get away and 
don't bother me, or don't talk such stuff. 
Bungay, in Suffolk, used to be famous for the 
manufacture of leather breeches, once very 
fashionable. Persons who required new ones, 
or to have their old ones new-seated, went or 
sent to Bungay for that purpose. Hence 
rose the cant saying, "Go to Bungay, and get 
your breeches mended," shortened into "Go 
to Bungay with you!" 

My castle of Bungay. See CASTLE. 

Bunkum. Claptrap. A representative at 
Washington being asked why he made such a 
flowery and angry speech, so wholly uncalled 
for, made answer, "I was not speaking to the- 
House, but to Buncombe," which he repre- 
sented (North Carolina). 

When a critter talks for talk's sake, jist to have 
a speech in the paper to send to home, and not for 
any other airthly puppus but electioneering, our 
folks call it bunkum. HALIBURTON: Sam Slick. 



Burma Road 

Bunny. A rabbit. So called from the 
provincial word bun, a tail, especially of a hare, 
which is said to "cock her bun." Bunny, a 
diminutive of bun, applied to a rabbit, means 
the animal with the "little tail." 
Bunting. In Somersetshire bunting means 
sifting flour. Sieves were at one time made of 
a strong gauzy woollen cloth, which was tough 
and capable of resisting wear. It has been 
suggested that this material was found suitable 
for flags, and that the name for the stuff of 
which they are now made is due to this. 
A "bunt-mill" is a machine for sifting corn. 

Bunyan, Paul. A legendary hero of the lumber 
camps of the north-western U.S.A. His feats 
such as cutting the Grand Canyon of the 
Colorado by dragging his pick behind him 
are told and retold with embellishments by the 
lumbermen; some of them were collected in a 
curious volume titled, Paul Bunyan Comes 

Burble (ber'bel). To mutter nonsense. In 
its modern use this is a word invented by Lewis 
Carroll (Looking-glass} with the meaning to 
make a sound somewhere between a bubble 
and a gurgle. 

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, 
Came whiffling through the tulgy wood 

And burbled as it came. 

Burd. A poetic word for a young lady (cp. 
BIRD), obsolete except in ballads. Burd Helen, 
who is a heroine of Scottish ballad, is a female 
personification of the Fr. preux or prudhomme, 
with this difference, that she is discreet, rather 
than brave and wise. 

Burden of a Song. A line repeated at intervals 
so as to constitute a refrain or chorus. It is 
the Fr. bourdon, the big drone of a bagpipe, or 
double-diapason of an organ, used in forte 
parts and choruses. 

Burden of Isaiah. "The burden of Babylon, 
which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see." 
Burden, here, is a literal translation of the Heb, 
massa (rendered in the Vulgate by onus), 
which means "lifting up" either a burden or 
the voice; hence "utterance," , hence a 
prophecy announcing a calamity, or a de- 
nunciation of hardships on those against 
whom the burden is uttered. 

The burden of proof. The obligation to 
prove something. 

The burden of proof is on the party holding the 
affirmative [because no one can prove a negative, 
except by reductto ad absurdum]. 

GREENLEAF: On Evidence, vol. i, pt. 2, ch. iii. 

Bureaucracy. A system of government in 
which the business is carried on in bureaux or 
departments. Hence, bureaucrat, the head of 
a department in a bureaucracy. The Fr. 
bureau means not only the office of a public 
functionary, but also the whole staff of officers 
attached to the department. 

As a word of reproach, bureaucracy means 
the senseless and soulless application of rules 
and regulations. 

Burglary means, in English law, breaking into 
a house by night with intent to commit a 
felony. In Common Law "night" means 

between sunset and sunrise, but by the Larceny 
Act of 1861, it is limited to the hours between 
9 p.m. and 6 a.m. This Act makes it equally 
burglary to break out of a house at night after 
having committed a felony in it. When 
committed by day these offences are known as 
house-breaking and are viewed somewhat 
differently by the Law. 

Burgundian. A Burgundian blow, i.e. de- 
capitation. The Due de Biron, who was put 
to death for treason by Henri IV, was told in 
his youth, by a fortune-teller, "to beware of a 
Burgundian blow." When going to execution, 
he asked who was to be his executioner, and 
was told he was a man from Burgundy. 

Burgundy. A name loosely applied in England 
to dark red wine of more than usual alcoholic 
strength, but really wine (both red and white) 
from the province of Burgundy, grown 
between Dijon and Chasne, south of Beaune. 

Burgundy pitch. See MISNOMERS. 

Burial of an Ass. No burial at all, just thrown 
on a refuse-heap. 

He shall be buned with the burial of an ass, drawn 
and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 

Jer. xxii, 19. 

Buridan's Ass. A man of indecision; like one 
"on double business bound, who stands in 
pause where he should first begin, and both 
neglects." Buridan was a French scholastic 
philosopher who died about 1360. He is 
incorrectly reputed to be the father of the well- 
known sophism: 

If a hungry ass were placed exactly between two 
haystacks in every respect equal, it would starve to 
death, because there would be no motive why it 
should go to one rather than to the other. 

Burke. To murder by smothering. So called 
from William Burke, an Irish navvy, who, with 
his accomplice William Hare, used to suffocate 
his victims and sell the bodies to surgeons for 
dissection. Hanged at Edinburgh, 1829. 

To burke a question. To smother it in its 
birth. The publication was burked, sup- 
pressed before it was circulated. 

Burlaw. See BYRLAW. 

Burleigh. As significant as the shake of Lord 
Burleigh's head. In Sheridan's Critic is 
introduced a mock tragedy called The Spanish 
Armada. Lord Burleigh is supposed to be too 
full of state affairs to utter a word; he shakes 
his head, and Puff explains what the shake 

Burler. See BIRLER. 

Burlesque. Father of burlesque poetry. Hippo- 
nax of Ephesus (6th cent. B.C.). 

Burma Road, The. This great highway was 
constructed to open up the western interior 
of China by communication with the sea. It 
was made in 1937-39, for a distance of 770 
miles from Lashio to Kunming, in Yunnan. 
During the war it was the chief highway for 
war supplies to China until the Japanese cut it 
in 1941. It was recaptured in 1945. Lorries 
do the entire trip in seven days, and by means 
of the extension being made and planned, will 
be able to penetrate far into the country. 




Burn. His money burns a hole in his pocket. 

He cannot keep it in his pocket, or forbear 
spending it. 

The burnt child dreads the fire. Once caught, 
twice shy. "What! wouldst thou have a 
serpent sting thee twice?" 

To burn one's boats. To cut oneself off 
from all means of hope of retreat. The 
allusion is to Julius Csesar and other generals, 
who burned- their boats or ships when they 
invaded a foreign country, in order that their 
soldiers might feel that they must either con- 
quer the country or die, as retreat would be 

To burn one's fingers. To suffer loss by 
speculation or mischance. The allusion is to 
taking chestnuts from the fire. 

To burn the Thames. To set the Thames 
afire. See THAMES. 

You cannot burn the candle at both ends. 
You cannot do two opposite things at one and 
the same time; you cannot exhaust your 
energies in one direction, and yet reserve them 
unimpaired for something else. If you go to 
bed late you cannot get up early. 

We burn daylight. We waste time in talk 
instead of action. (Shakespeare : Merry Wives 
of Windsor, li, 1.) 

Burning crown. A crown of red-hot iron 
set on the head of a regicide. 
He was adjudged 

To have his head seared with a burning crown. 
Tragedy of Hoffmann (1631). 

Burnt Candlemas. The name given by the 
Scots to the period around Candlemas Day 
(<?.v.), 1355-6, when Edward III marched 
through the Lothians with fire and sword. 
He burnt to the ground Edinburgh and 
Haddington, and then retreated through lack 
of provisions. 

Bursa (Gr., a hide). So the citadel of Car- 
thage was called. The tale is that when Dido 
came to Africa she bought of the natives "as 
much land as could be encompassed by a bull's 
hide.*' The agreement was made, and Dido 
cut the hide into thongs, so as to enclose a 
space sufficient for a citadel. Cp. DONCASTER. 

The following is a similar story: The 
Yakutsks granted to the Russian explorers as 
much land as they could encompass with a 
cow's hide; but the Russians, cutting the hide 
into strips, obtained land enough for the port 
and town of Yakutsk. 

The Indians have a somewhat similar 
tradition. The fifth incarnation of Vishnu 
was in the form of a dwarf called Vamen. 
Vamen obtained permission to have as much 
land as he could measure in three paces to build 
a hut on. The request was laughed at but 
freely granted; whereupon the dwarf grew so 
prodigiously that, with three paces, he strode 
over the whole world. 

Burst. To inform against an accomplice. 
Slang variety of "split" (turn king's evidence, 
impeach). The person who does this splits 
or breaks up the whole concern. 

I'm bursting to tell you so-and-so. I'm all 
agog to tell you; I can't rest till I've told you. 

On the burst. See BUST. 

Burton. Gone for a Burton. It is now 

difficult to ascertain the origin of this phrase 
which, starting among flying men in World 
War II, has now taken its place in the 
language. It probably suggests that the 
missing airman has gone for a pint of Burton 
ale or stout. Its meaning is always sinister, 
implying that whoever has gone for a Burton 
has crashed or come to grief in some way. 

Bury the Hatchet. Let bygones be bygones. 
The "Great Spirit" commanded the North 
American Indians, when they smoked their 
calumet or peace-pipe, to bury their- hatchets, 
scalping-knives, and war-clubs, that all 
thought of hostility might be put out of sight. 

Buried was the bloody hatchet; 

Buried was the dreadful war-club ; 

Buried were all warlike weapons, 

And the war-cry was forgotten ; 

Then was peace among the nations. 

LONGFELLOW: Hiawatha, xiii. 

Burying at cross roads. See CROSS- 

Bus. A contraction of omnibus (<?.v.). The 
word is used by airmen and motorists in a 
humorous, almost affectionate, way for their 

Busman's holiday. There is a story that 
in old horse-bus days a driver spent his holiday 
travelling to and on a bus driven by one of his 
pals. From this has arisen the phrase, which 
means occupying one's spare and free time 
in carrying on with one's usual work, in other 
words, a holiday in name only. 

Busby. A frizzled wig; also the tall cap of a 
hussar, artilleryman, etc., which hangs from 
the top over the right shoulder. It is not 
known what the word is derived from; 
Doctor Busby, master of Westminster School 
from 1638 to 1695, did not wear a frizzled wig, 
but a close cap, somewhat like a Welsh wig. 
See WIG. 

Bush. One beats the bush, but another has the 
hare. See BEAT THE BUSH. 

Good wine needs no bush. A good article 
will make itself known without being puffed. 
An ivy-bush (anciently sacred to Bacchus) was 
once the common sign of taverns, and especi- 
ally of private houses where beer or wine 
could be obtained by travellers. 

Some ale-houses upon the road I saw, 

And some with bushes showing they wine did draw. 
Poor Robin's Perambulations (1678). 

The proverb is Latin, and shows that the 
Romans introduced the custom into Europe. 
"Vino vendibili hedera non opus est" (Colum- 
ella). It was also common to France. "Au 
vm qui se vend bien, il ne faut point de lierre" 

If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis 
true that a good play needs no epilogue. 

SHAKESPEARE: As You Like It (Epilogue). 

To take to the bush. To become bush- 
rangers, like runaway convicts, who live by 
plunder. See BUSH, below. 

Bush. An Australian terra for wild, 
wooded country, derived from the Dutch bosch. 
The word was imported from South Africa 
before 1820, and gave rise to a whole vocabu- 
laxybushman, bush telegraph, bush ranger, 




Bushrangers. Originally escaped convicts 
in Australia who were forced to live in the 
wilds to escape recapture, in which sense it is 
found m the Sydney Gazette in 1805. The 
word has a modern sense of those who take 
advantage of their fellows, by sharp practice or 

Bushmen (Dut. Boschjesman). Natives of 
South Africa who live in the "bush"; the 
aborigines of the Cape; dwellers in the Austra- 
lian " bush "; bush farmers. 

Bushmen . . are the only nomads m the country. 
They never cultivate the soil, nor rear any domestic 
animal save wretched dogs. 

LIVINGSTONE: Travels, ch. ii. 

Bush-shanty (Austr.). A hut selling illegal 
liquor, often in the gold-rush areas. Hence to 
shanty is to pub-crawl. 

Bushwhacker (Austr.). One who lives in the 
bush. (U.S.A.) a deserter in the Civil War 
who looted behind the lines. 

Bushed. An Australian word meaning 
"tost.*' It has wandered so far from its 
original connotation of "bush" that we find 
such a phrase as "a small ship became 
bushed in the great Van Dieman Gulf." 
BARRATT, Coast of Adventure, 1944. 

Bush telegraph. In eaffy Australian slang, 
one who informed the bushrangers (q.v.) of 
police movements; now widespread to indicate 
any unofficial and mysterious source of 

Bushmaster. A large and very poisonous 
South American snake Lachesis mutus. 

Bushel. To measure other people's corn by 
one's own bushel. To make oneself the 
standard of right and wrong; to appraise 
everything as it accords or disagrees with one's 
own habits of thought and preconceived 
opinions. The bushel was measured in a 
wooden or earthenware container, hence: 
under a bushel, secretly; in order to hide it. 

Neither do men light a candle and put it under a 
bushel, but on a candlestick. Matt, v, 15. 

Business. A.S. blsigness, from bisigian, to 
occupy, to worry, to fatigue. In theatrical 
parlance "business" or "biz" means by- 
play. Thus, Hamlet trifling with Ophelia's 
fan, Lord Dundreary's hop, and so on, are the 
special "business" of the actor of the part. 
As a rule, the "business" is invented by the 
actor who creates the part, and it is handed 
down by tradition. 

Business to-morrow. When the Spartans 
seized upon Thebes they placed Archias over 
the garrison. Pelopidas, with eleven others, 
banded together to put Archias to the sword. 
A letter containing full details of the plot was 
given to the Spartan polemarch at the banquet 
table; but Archias thrust the letter under his 
cushion, saying, "Business to-morrow." But 
long ere that sun arose he was numbered with 
the dead. 

Mind your own business. Don't get poking 
your nose into my affairs; your advice is not 

The business end. The end of the tool, etc., 
with which the work is done. The "business 

end of a tin-tack" is its point; of a revolver, 
its muzzle; and so on. 

To do someone's business for him. To ruin 
him, to settle him for ever; kill him. 

To mean business. To be determined to 
carry out one's project; to be in earnest. 

Busiris (bQ si' ris). A mythical king of Egypt 
who, in order to avert a famine, used to 
sacrifice to the gods all strangers who set foot 
on his shores. Hercules was seized by him; 
and would have fallen a victim, but he broke 
his chain, and slew the inhospitable king. 

Milton, following Sir Walter Raleigh who, 
in his History of the World, says he was "the 
first oppressor of the Israelites," gives the 
name to the Pharaoh who was drowned in the 
Red Sea. 

Vex'd the Red Sea coast, whose waves o'er-threw 

Busins and his Memphian chivalry. 

Paradise Lost, i, 306. 

Busker. There is an old verb to busk, meaning 
to improvise, and it is from this that the word 
busker is derived, to describe a street or beach 
singer or performer. 

Buskin. Tragedy. The Greek tragic actors 
used to wear a sandal some two or three 
inches thick, to elevate their stature. The 
whole foot-piece made a buskin, and was 
called cothurnus. Cp, SOCK. 

Or what (though rare) of later age 
Ennobled hath the buskmed stage. 

MILTON: // Penseroso, 79. 

Buss. To kiss. The word is obsolete; it is 
probably onomatopoeic in origin, but cp. Lat. 
basium, Ital. bacw, Sp. beso, and Fr. baiser. 

Yon towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds, 

Must kiss their own feet. 

SHAKESPEARE. Trodus and Cresslda, iv, 5. 

Bust. A frolic; a drunken debauch. The 
word is a vulgarization of burst (q.v.). 

Busted. Done for; exploded. 

To go on the bust. To go on the spree; to 
paint the town red. 

A bust up is a violent quarrel, a row. 

Buster. Anything of large or unusual size or 
capacity; a "whacking great lie." 

To come a buster. To come a cropper; to 
meet with a serious set-back or fall. 

In Australia a Southerly Buster is a heavy 
gale from the south, striking the east coast of 
Australia and New Zealand. 

Butcher. A title given, to many soldiers and 
others noted for their bloodthirstiness. 
Achmed Pasha was called djezzar (the butcher), 
and is said to have whipped off the heads of 
his seven wives. He is famous for his defence 
of Acre against Napoleon I. 

The Bloody Butcher. The Duke of Cumber- 
land (1721-65), second son of George II. 
So called from his barbarities in suppressing 
the rebellion of the Young Pretender. 

The Royalist Butcher. Blaise de Montluc 
(1502-77), a Marshal of France, distinguished 
for his cruelties to the Protestants in the reign 
of Charles IX. 




Butter. This word is sometimes used figura- 
tively for flattery, soft soap, "wiping down" 
with winning words. Punch expressively calls 
it "the milk of human kindness churned into 
butter." (A.S. butere, Lat. butyrum, Gr. 
boutyron, i.e. bouturos, cow-cheese, as distin- 
guished from goat- or ewe-butter.) 

Buttered ale. A beverage made of ale or 
beer mixed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. 

He knows which side his bread is buttered. 

He knows his own interest. 

I know what's what, I know on which side 
My bread is butter'd. 

FORD: The Laches Trial/ (1638). 

He looks as if butter would not melt in his 
mouth. He seems suspiciously amiable. He 
looks quite harmless and expressly made to be 
played upon. Yet beware, and "touch not a 
cat but a glove." 

She smiles and languishes, you'd think that butter 
would not melt in her mouth. THACKERAY: 
Pendenms, Ix. 

Soft or fair words butter no parsnips. 
Saying "'Be thou fed,' will not feed a hungry 
man." Mere words will not find salt to our 
porridge, or butter to our parsnips. 
Fair words butter no cabbage. 
WYCHERLEY: Plain Dealer, v, 3 (1674). 

Fine words, says our homely old proverb, butter no 
parsnips. LOWELL. 

To butter one's bread on both sides. To be 
wastefuily extravagant and luxurious; also, to 
run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, to 
gain advantages from two sides at once. 

Buttercups. So called because they were 
once supposed to increase the butter of milk. 
No doubt those cows give the best milk that 
pasture in fields where buttercups abound, not 
because these flowers produce butter, but 
because they grow only on sound, dry, old 
pastures, which afford the best food. Miller, 
in his Gardener's Dictionary, says they were so 
called "under the notion that the yellow colour 
of butter is owing to these plants." 

Butter-fingers. Said of a person who lets 
things fall out of his hand. His fingers are 
slippery, and things slip from them as if they 
were greased with butter. Often heard on the 
cricket field, 

I never was a butter-fingers, though a bad batter. 

Butterfly. A light, flippant, objectless young 
person who flutters from pleasure to pleasure. 
One who is in good form when all is bright and 
when every prospect pleases, but is "done for' 
when the clouds gather. 

In the cab-trade the name used to be given 
to those drivers who took to the occupation 
only in summer-time, and at the best of the 
season. . 

The feeling of the regular drivers against these 
"butterflies" is very strong. 

Nineteenth Century (March, 1893, p. 177). 

Butterfly kiss. A kiss with one's eyelashes, 
that is, stroking the cheek with one's eyelashes. 
Button. The two buttons on the back of a 
coat, in the fall of the back, are a survival of 
the buttons on the back of riding-coats and 
military frocks of the 18th century, occasion- 
ally used to button back the coat-tails. 

A decoy in an auction-room is colloquially 
known as a button, because he "buttons" or 
ties the unwary to bargains offered for sale. 
The button fastens or fixes what else would slip 

Buttons. A page, whose jacket in front is 
remarkable for a display of small round 
buttons, as close as they can be inserted, from 
chin to waist. 

The titter of an electric bell brought a large fat 
buttons, with a stage effect of being dressed to look 
small. HOWELL: Hazard of New Fortunes, cb. vii. 

Bachelor's buttons. See BACHELOR. 

Dash my buttons. Here, "buttons" means- 
lot or destiny, and "dash" is a euphemistic 
form of a stronger word. 

He has not all his buttons. He is half-silly; 
"not all there"; he is "a button short." 

The buttons come off the foils. Figuratively, 
the courtesies of controversy are neglected. 
The button of a foil is the piece of cork fixed 
to the end to protect the point and prevent 
injury m fencing. 

Familiarity with controversy . . . will have accus- 
tomed him to the misadventures which arise when, 
as sometimes will happen in the heat of fence, the 
buttons come off the foils. 

Nineteenth Century (June, 1891, p. 925). 

The button of the cap. The tip-top. Thus, 
in Hamlet, Guildenstern says: "On fortune's 
cap we are not the very button" (ii, 2), i.e. 
the most highly favoured. The button on the 
cap was a mark of honour. Thus, in Imperial 
China the first grade of literary honour was 
the privilege of adding a gold button to the cap, 
a custom adopted in several collegiate schools 
of England; and the several grades of man- 
darins are distinguished by a different coloured 
button on the top of their cap. Cp. PANJAN- 

'Tis in his buttons. He is destined to obtain 
the prize; he is the accepted lover. It used 
to be common to hear boys count their 
buttons to know what trade they are to follow, 
whether they are to do a thing or not, and 
whether some favourite favours them. 
'Tis in his buttons; he will carry 't. 

Merry Wives of Windsor, iii, 2. 

To have a soul above buttons. To be 
worthy, or, rather, to consider oneself worthy, 
of better things; to believe that one has 
abilities too good for one's present employ- 
ment. This is explained by George Colman 
in Sylvester Daggerwood (1795): " My father 
was an eminent button-maker . . . but I had 
a soul above buttons . . . and panted for a 
liberal profession." 

To press the button. To set in motion, 
literally or figuratively, generally by simple 
means as the pressing of a button will start 
electrically-driven machinery or apparatus. 

Mediation was ready to come into operation by 
any method that Germany thought possible if only 
Germany would '* press the button " in the interests 
of peace. Sir EDW. GREY to the British Ambassador 
at Berlin, July 29th, 1914. 

To take by the button. To buttonhole. 
See below. 

Buttonhole. A flower or nosegay worn in 
the buttonhole of a coat. 




To buttonhole a person. To detain him in] 
conversation; to apprehend, as, "to take) 
fortune by the button." The allusion is to at 
custom, now discontinued, of holding a> 
person by the button or buttonhole in con- 1 * 
versation. The French have the same 
locution : Serrer le bouton (a quelqu'un). } 

He went about buttonholing and boring everyone. 
H. KINGSLEY: Mathilde. 

To take one down a buttonhole. To take) 
one down a peg; to lower one's conceit. 

Better mind yerselves, or I'll take ye down a button- 
hole lower. Mrs. STOWE: Uncle Tom's Cabin, iv. 

Buy. To buy in. To collect stock by pur- 
chase; to withhold the sale of something 
offered at auction, because the bidding has not 
reached the "reserve price." On the Stock Ex-; 
change buying in is the term used when, a seller' 
having sold stock that he is unable to deliver, 1 
the buyer purchases the stock himself in the 
market and charges the extra cost, if any, to 
the original seller. 

To buy off. To give a person money to drop 
a claim, put an end to contention, or throw 
up a partnership. 

To buy out. To redeem or ransom. 
Not being able to buy out his life . . . 
Dies ere the weary sun set. 

SHAKESPEARE: Comedy of Errors, i, 2. 

To buy over. To induce one by a bribe to 
renounce a claim; to gain over by bribery. 

To buy over a person's head. To outbid 

To buy up. To purchase stock to such an 
amount as to obtain a virtual monopoly, and 
thus command the market; to make a corner, 
as "to buy up corn," etc. 

Buying a pig in a poke. See PIG. 

Buzfuz (buz'fuz). Sergeant Buzfuz was the 
windy, grandiloquent counsel for Mrs. Bardell 
in the famous breach of promise trial described 
in Pickwick Papers. He represented a type 
of barrister that flourished in the early 
19th century, seeking to gain his case by 
abuse of the other side and a distortion of the 
true facts. 

Buzz, To. Either, to empty the bottle to the 
last drop; or, when there is not enough left 
in it to allow of a full glass all round the party, 
to share it out equally. Perhaps a corruption 
of bouse. See BOOZE. 

Buzz. A rumour, a whispered report. 

Yes, that, on every dream, 
Each buzz, each fancy . . 
He may enguard his dotage. 

SHAKESPEARE: King Lear, i, 4. 

Buzzard. In Dry den's Hind and Panther is 
meant for Dr. Burnet, whose figure was lusty. 

Buzzard called hawk by courtesy. It is a 

euphemism a brevet rank a complimentary 


The noble Buzzard ever pleased me best; 
Of small renown, 'tis true; for, not to he 
We call him but a hawk by courtesy. 

DRYDEN. Hind and Panther, iii, 1221. 

Between hawk and buzzard. Not quite the 
master or mistress nor quite a servant. 
Applied to "bear-leaders" (#.v.), governesses, 
and other grown-up persons who used to be 

allowed to come down to dessert, but not to 
the dinner-table. 

By-and-by now means a little time hence, 
but when the Bible was translated it meant 
instantly. "When persecution anseth . . . 
by-and-by he is offended" (Matt, xiu, 12); 
rendered in Mark iv, 17, by the word " im- 
'mediately." Our presently means in a little 
,time or soon, but formerly it meant "at 
ipresent," "at once," and in this sense it is not 
uncommonly still used in U.S.A. 

*", By and large. Taking one thing with an- 
other, speaking generally. This is really a 
nautical phrase. When a vessel was close- 
hauled, order might be given to sail "by and 
large," that is, slightly off the wind, or easier 
for the helmsman and less likely for the vessel 
to be taken aback under his steering. 

By-blow. An illegitimate child. 

I it is have been cheated all this while, 
Abominably and irreparably, my name 
Given to a cur-cast mongrel, a drab's brat, 
A beggar's bye-blow. 

BROWNING: Ring and the Book, iv, 612. 

By-laws. Local laws. From by, a borough. 
See BVRLAW. Properly, laws by a town 
council, and bearing only on the borough or 
company over which it has jurisdiction. 

By-line. A journalist's signature. When a 
newspaper reporter progresses from anony- 
mous to signed articles, he is said to have got a 

By-the-by. En passant, laterally connected 
with the main subject. "By-play" is side or 
secondary play; "by-roads and streets" are 
those which branch out of the mam thorough- 
fare. The first "by" means passing from one 
' to another, as in the phrase "Day by day." 
Thus "By-the-by" is passing from the main 
subject to a by or secondary one. 

By-the-way. An introduction to an in- 
cidental remark thrown in, and tending the 
same way as the discourse itself. 

Bycorne. See BICORN. 

Bye Plot (bl). This was a plot hatched in 
1603 by a Catholic priest, Watson, who 
worked up a number of Catholic gentry to 
secure the person of James I and force him to 
grant toleration to Catholics and Puritans. 
The plot was muddled and mismanaged from 
the outset, Watson was beheaded, his fellow 
conspirators were imprisoned or banished. 

Byerly Turk. See DARLEY ARABIAN. 

Byrlaw. A local law in the rural districts of 
Scotland, The inhabitants of a district used 
to make certain laws for their own observance, 
and appoint one of their neighbours, called the 
Byrlaw-man., to carry out the pains and penal- 
ties. Byr a burgh, common in such names 
as Derby, the burgh on the Derwent; Grimsby 
(q.v.}, Gnms-town, etc., and is present m 
by-law (q.v). 

Byron. The Polish Byron. Adam Mickiewicz 

The Russian Byron. Alexander Sergeivitch 
Pushkin (1799-1837). 



Cabinet Ministers 

Byrsa. See BURSA. 

Byzantine (bi zan' tin). Another name for the 

bezant (q.v.). 

Byzantine art (from Byzantium, the ancient 
name of Constantinople). That symbolical 
system which was developed by the early Greek 
or Byzantine artists out of the Christian 
symbolism. Its chief features are the circle, 
dome, and round arch; and its chief symbols 
the lily, cross, vesica, and nimbus. St. 
Sophia, at Constantinople, and St. Mark, at 
Venice, are excellent examples of Byzantine 
architecture and decoration, and the Roman 
Catholic Cathedral at Westminster is a develop- 
ment of the same. 

Byzantine Empire. The Eastern or Greek 
Empire, which lasted from the separation of 
the Eastern and Western Empires on the death 
of Theodosius m A.D. 395, till the capture of 
Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. 

Byzantine historians. Certain Greek hist9r- 
ians who lived under the Eastern Empire 
between the 6th and 15th centuries. They 
may be divided into three groups :-^-(l) Those 
whose works form together continuous and 
complete history of the Byzantine empire; 
(2) general chroniclers who wrote histories of 
the world from the oldest period; and (3) 
writers on Roman antiquities, statistics, and 

C. The form of the letter is a rounding ot 
the Gr. gamma (f), which was a modification 
of the Phoenician sign for gimel, a camel. It 
originally corresponded with Gr. gamma, as its 
place in the alphabet would lead one to 

When the French c has a mark under it, 
thus c, called a cedilla, it is to be pronounced as 
an s. 

There is more than one poem written of 
which every word begins with C. There is 
one by Hamconius, called "Certamen 
catholicum cum Calvinistis," and another by 
Henry Harder. See ALLITERATION. 

Ca' canny. A Scots expression meaning "go 
easily," "don't exert yourself," It is used in 
trade-union slang for working to rule, and is 
the method adopted by workmen for the pur- 
pose of bringing pressure on the employers 
when, in the workmen's opinion, a strike would 
be hardly justifiable, expedient, or possible. 
Ca' is Scots caw, to drive or impel. 
Ca ira (it will go). The name, and refrain, 
of a popular patriotic song in France which 
became the Carillon National of the French 
Revolution (1790). It went to the tune of the 
Carillon National, which Marie Antoinette was 
for ever strumming on her harpsichord. 

As a rallying cry it was borrowed from 
Benjamin Franklin, who used to say, in 
reference to the American revolution, "Ah! 
ah! fa ira, fa ira/" ('twill be sure to do). 

The refrain of the French revolutionary 
version was: 

Ah! ca ira, ca ira, ca ira, 
Les aristocrates a la lanterne. 

Caaba. See KAABA. 

Cab. A contraction of cabriolet, a small, one- 
horse carnage, so called from Ital. capriola, a 
caper, the leap of a kid, from the lightness of 
the carriage when compared with the con- 
temporary cumbersome vehicles. Cabs were 
introduced in London about 1823. 
Cabal. A junto (?.v.) or council of intriguers. 
One of the Ministries of Charles II was called 
a "cabal" (1670), because the initial letters of 
its members formed the word: Clifford, 
Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lander- 
dale. This accident may have popularized the 
word, but it was in use in England many years 
before this, and is the Hebrew qabbalah. 

These ministers were emphatically called the Cabal, 
and they soon made the appellation so infamous that 
it has never since . . . been used except as a term 
of reproach. MACAULAY: England, I, ii. 

Cabala, Cabalist. See CABBALA. 

Caballero. A Spanish knight or gentleman 
(literally, one who rides a horse, caballo) ; also 
a grave and stately dance, so called from the 
ballad to the music of which it was danced. 
The ballad begins 

Esta noche le mataron al caballero. 

Cabbage. An old slang term for odd bits of 
cloth, etc., left over after making up siiits and 
so on, appropriated by working tailors as 
perquisites. Thus the Tailor in Randolph's 
Hey for Honesty (about 1633) says: 

O iron age! that like the ostrich, makes me feed on 
ray own goose, . . . This cross-legged infelicity, 
sharper than my needle, makes me eat my own cab- 
bage. Act V, sc. i. 

Hence, a tailor is sometimes nicknamed 
"Cabbage," and to cabbage means to pilfer, to 

Cabbala. The oral traditions of the Jews, said 
to have been delivered by Moses to the rabbis 
and from them handed down through the 
centuries from father to son by word of mouth. 
In mediaeval times the term included the occult 
philosophy of the rabbis, and the cabbala and 
its guardians, the cabbalists, were feared as 
possessing secrets of magical power. The 
word is the Heb. qabbalah, accepted tradition. 
Cabbalist. In the Middle Ages the cabbalists 
were chiefly occupied in concocting and 
deciphering charms, mystical anagrams, etc., 
by unintelligible combinations of certain 
letters, words, and numbers ; in search for the 
philosopher's stone; m prognostications, at- 
tempted or pretended intercourse with the 
dead, and suchlike fantasies. 
Cabinet Ministers. In British politics, a 
deliberative committee of the principal mem- 
bers of the Government, who are privileged to 
consult and advise the sovereign (originally in 
his private cabinet, or chamber), and who lead, 
and are responsible to, Parliament. The 
number of members has varied from a dozen 
to as many as twenty-two, but it always 
contains the chief officers of state, viz. the 




Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Treasury 
(these offices are often combined), the Lord 
High Chancellor, Lord President of the 
Council, Lord Privy Seal, Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, the First Lord of the Admiralty, 
the Secretaries for Home Affairs, Foreign 
Affairs, the Colonies, Dominions, Scotland, 
War, and Air, the President of the Board of 
Trade, and the Ministers of Labour, Fuel, 
Education, Health, and Agriculture. Of the 
other Ministers the following are sometimes 
included in the Cabinet: the Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster, the Postmaster-General, 
Ministers of Supply, Food, Pensions, Works, 
Town and Country Planning, National 
Insurance, Civil Aviation, Information. 
Cabiri (ka br n). The Phoenician name for 
the seven planets collectively; also mystic and 
minor divinities worshipped in Asia Minor, 
Greece, and the islands. (Phoen. kabir, power- 

Cable's Length. 100 fathoms; a tenth of a 
sea-mile 607.56 feet. 

Cabochon (ka bo shong). A term applied to a 
precious stone, cut in a rounded shape, 
without facets. Garnets, sapphires, and rubies 
are the stones most commonly cut en cabochon. 
Caboodle (kaboodl'). The whole caboodle, 
the whole lot. The origin of the word is 
obscure, but it may come from the Dutch 
boedel, possession, household goods, property. 
In this sense it has long been a common term 
among New England long-shoremen. 
Caboose (ka boos'). On American railroads, 
a wagon used for transporting workmen or the 
train crew. 

Cachecope Bell (kash' kop). In some parts of 
England it was customary to ring a bell at a 
funeral when the pall was thrown over a coffin. 
This was called the cachecope bell, from Fr., 
cache corps, conceal the body. 
Cachet (kash' a) (Fr.). A seal; hence, a dis- 
tinguishing mark, a stamp of individuality. 

Lettres de cachet (letters sealed) . Under the 
old French regime, warrants, sealed with the 
king's seal, which might be obtained for a 
consideration, and in which the name was 
frequently left blank. Sometimes the warrant 
was to set a prisoner at large, but it was more 
frequently for detention in the Bastille. 
During the administration of Cardinal Fleury 
(1726-43) 80,000 of these cachets are said to 
have been issued, the larger number being 
against the Jansemsts. In the reigns of Louis 
XV and XVI fifty-nine were obtained against 
the one family of Mi rabeau. This scandal was 
abolished January 15th, 1790. 
Cacodaemon (kak 6 de' mon). An evil spirit 
(Gr. kakos daimon). Astrologers give this 
name to the Twelfth House of Heaven, from 
which only evil prognostics proceed. 
Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world, 
Thou cacodemon. 

SHAKESPEARE: Richard ///, i, 3. 
Cacoethes (kak o eth' ez) (Gr.). A "bad 

As soon as he came to town, the political Cacoethes 
began to break out upon him with greater violence, 
because it had been suppressed. 

SWIFT: Life ofSteele. 

Cacoethes loquendi. A passion for making 
speeches or for talking. 

Cacoethes scribendi. The love of rushing 
into print; a mania for authorship. 
Tenet insanabile multos 
Scribendi cacoethes. Juv. VII, 51. 

The incurable itch for scribbling infects many. 

Cacus (ka/ kus). In Classical mythology, a 
famous robber, represented as three-headed, 
and vomiting flames. He lived in Italy, and 
was strangled by Hercules. The curate of La 
Mancha says of the Lord Rinaldo and his 
friends, "They are greater thieves than Cacus." 
(Don Quixote.} 

Cad. Alow, vulgar ill-mannered fellow; also, 
before the term fell into its present disrepute, 
an omnibus conductor. The word is, like the 
Scots caddie (#.v.), probably from cadet 

Caddice or Caddis. Worsted yarn or binding, 
crewel. So named from the O.Fr. cadaz, the 
coarsest part of silk; with which the Ir. cadan, 
cotton, may be remotely connected. See also 

He hath ribands of all the colours i' the rainbow; 
. . . caddisses, cambrics, lawns. 

SHAKESPEARE: Winter's Tale, iv, 3. 

Caddice-garter. A servant, a man of mean 
rank. When garters were worn in sight, the 
cheaper variety was worn by small tradesmen, 
servants, etc. Prince Henry calls Poms a 
"caddice-garter" (1 Henry IV, ii, 4)." 

Dost hear, 

My honest caddis-garter? 
GLAPTHORNE: Wit in a Constable (1639). 

Caddie. This means now almost solely the 
boy or man who carries a golfer's clubs on the 
links (and, now and then, gives the tyro 
advice). It is another form of cadet (#.v.), and 
was formerly in common use in Scotland for 
errand boys, odd-job men, chairmen, etc. 

All Edinburgh men and boys know that when 
sedan-chairs were discontinued, the old cadies sank 
into ruinous poverty, and became synonymous with 
roughs. The word was brought to London by 
James Hannay, who frequently used it. M. PRINGLE. 

Caddy. In some English dialects a ghost, a 
bugbear; from cad, a word of uncertain origin 
which in the 17th century meant a familiar 
spirit. This has no connexion (as has been 
suggested) with caddis, a grub, which is 
probably from caddice (q.v.\ the allusion being 
to the similarity of the caddis-worm to the 
larva of the silk-worm. 

Caddy in tea-caddy is a Malay word (kati), 
and properly denotes a weight of 1 Ib. 5 oz. 
2 dr., that is used in China and the East Indies. 

Cadency, Marks of. See DIFFERENCE. 

Cader Idris (ka' der id' ris). Cader in Welsh is 
"chair," and Idris is the name of one of the 
old Welsh giants. The legend is that anyone 
who passes the night sitting in this "chair" 
will be either a poet or a madman. 

Cadet (ka detO- Younger branches of noble 
families are called cadets from Fr. cadet, 
formed on Provencal capdet, a diminutive of 
Lat. caput, a head, hence, little head, little 
chieftain. Their armorial shields bore the 
mark of cadency (Lat. cadere, to fall). See 




Cadet is a student at the Royal Military 
College at Sandhurst, with which Woolwich 
Academy was amalgamated in 1946, or in one 
of H.M. training ships. From these places the 
boys are sent (after passing certain examina- 
tions) into the army as ensigns or second 
lieutenants, and into the navy as midshipmen, 

Cadger. A sponger; one who lays himself out 
to obtain drinks, "unconsidered trifles," and 
so on, without paying for them or standing his 
share; a whining beggar. Originally an 
itinerant dealer in butter, eggs, etc., who 
visited remote farmhouses and made what 
extra he could by begging and wheedling. 
The word may be connected with catch, but 
this is not certain. 

Cadi (ka' di). Arabic for a town magistrate 
or inferior judge. 

Cadmus. In Greek mythology, the son of 
Agenor, king of Phoenicia, and Telephassa; 
founder of Thebes (Boeotia) and the introducer 
of the alphabet into Greece. (Cp. PALA- 
MEDES.) The name is Semitic for "the man of 
the East." Legend says that, having slain the 
dragon which guarded the fountain of Dirce, 
in Bceotia, he sowed its teeth, and a number of 
armed men sprang up surrounding Cadmus 
with intent to kill him. By the counsel of 
Athene, he threw a precious stone among them, 
who, striving for it, killed one another. 

Cadmean letters. The sixteen simple Greek 
letters said, in Greek mythology, to have been 
introduced by Cadmus (tf.v.) from Phoenicia. 
The Cadmeans were those who in pre-Trojan 
times occupied the country afterwards called 
Boeotia. Hence the Greek tragedians often 
called the Thebans Cadmeans. 

Cadmean victory. A victory purchased 
with great loss. The allusion is to the armed 
men who sprang out of the ground from the 
teeth of the dragon sown by Cadmus (q.v ), 
who fell foul of each other, only five escaping 

Cadogan (ka dug' an) or Catogan. A fashion 
of dressing the hair, in which the hair is 
secured at the back by a ribbon. Worn by 
men in the mid and late 18th century. Its 
name comes from a popular portrait of the 
first Earl of Cadogan. Dashing ladies also 
affected the fashion, which was introduced at 
the court of Montbeliard by the Duchesse de 

Cadre (kad' er; kad' ri). (Fr., frame.) In 
military parlance a skeleton of trained or key 
men, so arranged that the addition of un- 
trained personnel will yield a full-size efficient 

Caduceus. A white wand carried by Roman 
heralds when they went to treat for peace; 
the wand placed in the hands of, Mercury, the 
herald of the gods, of which poets feign that he 
could therewith give sleep to whomsoever he 
chose; wherefore Milton styles it "his opiate 
rod" in Paradise Lost, xi, 133. It is generally 
pictured with two serpents twined about it (a 
symbol thought to have originated in Egypt), 
and with reference to the serpents of 

^Esculapius it was adopted as the badge of 

the Royal Army Medical Corps. 
So with his dread caduceus Hermes led 
From the dark regions of the imprisoned dead; 
Or drove in silent shoals the lingering train 
To Night's dull shore and Pluto's dreary reign. 
DARWIN: Loves of the Plants, ii, 291. 

Caedmon (kad'mon) (d. 680). Anglo-Saxon 
poet famed for his Hymn. Bede tells us that 
he was an ignorant man who knew nothing of 
poetry. Commanded by an angel in a dream 
to sing the Creation, Caedmon straightway 
did so. On waking he remembered his verses 
and composed more. He was received into 
the monastery of Whitby, where he spent his 
life praising God in poetry. Except for 
Caedmon's Hymn, preserved in Bede's Latin, 
all his work is lost. 

Caerite Franchise, The (se' rit). A form of 
franchise in a Roman prefecture which gave 
the right of self-government, but did not confer 
the privileges of a Roman citizen or entitle the 
holder to vote. This was a privilege first 
given to the inhabitants of Caere who, during 
the Gallic War, had assisted the Romans. 
Later, cities and citizens who had merited 
disfranchisement were degraded to the same 
position, and consequently the term became 
one of disgrace. 

Caerleon (kar'le'on). The Isca Silurum of 
the Romans; a town on the Usk, in Wales, 
about 3 miles N.E. of Newport. It is the 
traditional residence of King Arthur, where he 
lived in splendid state, surrounded by hundreds 
of , knights, twelve of whom he selected as 
Knights of the Round Table. 

Caesar (se'zar). The cognomen of Caius 
Julius Caesar was assumed by all the male 
members of his dynasty as a part of the 
imperial dignity, and after them by the 
successive emperors. After the death of 
Hadrian (138) the title was assigned to those 
who had been nominated by the emperors as 
their successors and had been associated with 
them in ruling. The titles Kaiser and Tsar 
are both forms of Caesar. 
Thou art an emperor, Caesar, keisar, and Pheezar. 

SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, i, 3. 
No bending knees shall call thee Qesar now. 
SHAKESPEARE: 3 Henry VI, iii, 1. 

Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. The 

name of Pompeia having been mixed up with 
an accusation against P. Clodms, Csesar 
divorced her; not because he believed her 
guilty, but because the wife of Csesar must not 
even be suspected of crime. (Suetonius: 
Julius Caesar, 74.) 

Caesarian operation. The extraction of a 
child from the womb by cutting the abdomen ; 
so called because Julius Caesar was thus 
brought into the world. 

Caf. See KAF. 

Caftan (kaf tan). A garment worn in Turkey 
and other Eastern countries. It is a sort of 
under-tumc or vest tied by a girdle at the waist. 

Picturesque merchants and their customers, no 
longer in the big trousers of Egypt, but [in] the long 
caftans and abas of Syria. 

B. TAYLOR: Lands of the Saracen, ch. ix. 




Cage, To whistle or sing in the cage. The 

cage is a jail, and to whistle in a cage is to turn 
king's evidence, or peach against a comrade. 
The lift in which miners descend the pit shaft 
is termed a cage. 

Cagliostro (ka lyos' tro). Count Alessandro 
di Cagliostro was the assumed name of the 
notorious Italian adventurer and impostor, 
Giuseppe Balsamo (1743-95), of Palermo. He 
played a prominent part in the affair of the 
Diamond Necklace (#.v.), and among his many 
frauds was the offer of everlasting youth to all 
who would pay him for his secret. 

Cagmag (kag' mag). Offal, bad meat; also a 
tough old goose; food which none can relish. 

Cagot (ka/ go). A sort of gipsy race living 
in the Middle Ages in Gascony and Beam, 
supposed to be descendants of the Visigoths, 
and shunned as something loathsome. Cp. 
CAQUEUX; COLLIBERTS. In modern French, a 
hypocrite or an ultra-devout person is called a 
cagot. From this use of the word came 
cagoiile, meaning a penitent's hood or cowl, 
and from this, again, the sinister cagoulards 
took their name French political plotters 
hiding their infamy beneath masks and hoods. 

Cain-coloured Beard. Yellowish, or sandy 
red, symbolic of treason. In the ancient 
tapestries Cain and Judas are represented with 
yellow beards; but it is well to note that in the 
extract below the word, in some editions, is 
printed "ca-coloured." See YELLOW. 

He hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow 
beard, a Cain-coloured beard. 

SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives of Windsor, i, 4. 

Cainites (ka' nztz). An heretical sect of the 
2nd century. They renounced the New 
Testament in favour of The Gospel of Judas, 
which justified the false disciple and the 
crucifixion of Jesus; and they maintained that 
heaven and earth were created by the evil 
principle, and that Cam with his descendants 
were the persecuted party. 

Caird (kard). This is a North Country and 
Scottish name for a tramp, a tinker, a Gipsy or 
even a jockey. It comes from the Gaelic 
ceard, a smith, brazier. 

Caius (kes) College (Cambridge). Elevated 
by Dr. John Kay, or Keye (1510-73), of 
Norwich, into a college, from its previous 
status of a hall (Gonville), in 1558. It had 
been originally established by Edmund Gon- 
ville in 1348. The full name is now Gonville 
and Caius. 

Cake. Obsolete slang for a fool, a poor 
thing. Cf. HALF-BAKED. 

Cakes and ale. A good time. Life is not 
all cakes and ale. Life is not all beer and 
skittles all pleasure. 

My cake is dough. All my swans are 
turned to geese. Occisa est res mea. Mon 
affaire est manquee; my project has failed. 

The Land of Cakes. Scotland, famous for 
its oatmeal cakes. 

Land o' cakes and brither Scots. Sums. 

To go like hot cakes. To be a great success; 
to sell well. 

To take the cake. To carry off the prize. 
The reference is to the negro cake walk, the 
prize for which was a cake. It consists of 
walking round the prize cake in pairs, while 
umpires decide which pair walk the most 
gracefully. From this a dance developed 
which was popular in the early part of the 
20th century before the serious introduction of 

In ancient Greece a cake was the award of 
the toper who held out the longest; and in 
Ireland the best dancer in a dancing competi- 
tion was rewarded, at one time, by a cake. 

A churn-dish stuck into the earth supported on its 
flat end a cake, which was to become the prize of 
the best dancer. ... At length the competitors 
yielded their claims to a young man . . . who taking 
the cake, placed it gallantly in the lap of a pretty girl 
to whom ... he was about to be married BART- 
LETT and COYNE: Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland, 
vol. 11, p. 64. 

You cannot eat your cake and have it too* 

You cannot spend your money and yet keep 
it. You cannot serve God and Mammon. 

Calaboose (kaT a boos). This is a slang term 
in U.S.A. for a prison. It comes from the 
Spanish (originally from the Arabic), and is 
more especially applied to the common jail or 

Calabre (kaT a ber). Squirrel fur; perhaps so 
called because originally imported from 
Calabria. Ducange says: "At Chichester the 
'priest vicars' and at St. Paul's the 'minor 
canons * wore a calabre amyce" ; and Bale, in 
his Image of Both Churches, alludes to the 
"fair rochets of Raines [Rennes], and costly 
grey amices of calaber and cats* tails." 

The Lord Mayor and those aldermen above the 
chair ought to have their coats furred with grey amis, 
and also with changeable taffeta; and those below 
the chair with calabre and with green taffeta. 

HUTTON: New View of London. 

Calainos (kali'nos). The most ancient of 
Spanish ballads. Calainos the Moor asked a 
damsel to wife; she consented, on condition 
that he should bring her the heads of the three 
paladins of Charlemagne Rinaldo, Roland, 
and Oliver. Calainos went to Pans and 
challenged the paladins. First Sir Baldwin, 
the youngest knight, accepted the challenge and 
was overthrown; then his uncle Roland went 
against the Moor and smote him. 

Calamanco (kal a mang' ko) . A Low German 
word of uncertain origin denoting a glossy 
woollen fabric, sometimes striped or variegated. 
The word has been applied attributively to a 
cat, in which connexion it means striped or 

Calatrava, Order of (kal a tra' va). A Spanish 
military Order of Knighthood founded by 
Sancho III of Castile in 1158 to commemorate 
the capture of the fortress of Calatrava from 
the Moors in 1147. The first knights were 
the keepers of the fortress; their badge is a 
red cross, fleury, and is worn on the left breast 
of a white mantle. 

Calceolaria (kal se 6 Mr' i a). Little-shoe 
flowers; so called from their resemblance to 
fairy slippers (Lat. calceoluo.) 




Calculate is from the Lat. calculi (pebbles), 
used by the Romans for counters. In the 
abacus (#.v.), the round balls were called 
calculi. The Greeks voted by pebbles dropped 
into an urn a method adopted both in 
ancient Egypt and Syria; counting these 
pebbles was "calculating" the number of 

I calculate. A peculiarity of expression 
common in the western states of North 
America. In the southern states the phrase 
is *'I reckon," in the middle states "I expect," 
and in New England "I guess." All were 
imported from the Mother Country by early 
Your aunt sets two tables, I calculate; don't she? 

SUSAN WARNER: Queechy, ch, xix. 
The calculator. A number of mathematical 
geniuses have been awarded this title; among 
them are: 

Alfragan, the Arabian astronomer. Died 

Jedediah Buxton (1707-72), of Elmton, in 
Derbyshire; a farm labourer of no education 
who exhibited in London in 1754. 

George Bidder and Zerah Colburn (1804- 
40), who exhibited publicly. 

Inaudi exhibited "his astounding powers of 
calculating" at Pans in 1880; his additions and 
subtractions, contrary to the usual procedure, 
were left to right. 

Buxton, being asked "How many cubical eighths- 
of-an-inch there are in a body whose three sides are 
23,145,786 yards, 5,642,732 yards, and 54,965 yards?" 
replied correctly without setting down a figure. 

Colburn, being asked the square root of 106,929 
and the cube root of 268,336,125, replied before the 
audience had set the figures down. 

PRICE: Parallel History, vol. ii, p. 570. 
Caledonia. Scotland; the ancient Roman 
name, now used only in poetry and in a few 
special connexions, such as the Caledonian 
Railway, the Caledonian Canal, the Caledonian 
Ball, etc. 

Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon, 
Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd. 

O Caledonia, stern and wild, 
Meet nurse for a poetic child. 

SCOTT: Lay of the Last Minstrel. 
Calembonr (ka lem boor') (Fr.). A pun, a jest. 
From Wigand von Theben, a priest of Kohlen- 
berg in Lower Austria, who was introduced in 
Eitlenspiegel (q v.), and other German tales. 
He was noted for his jests, puns, and witticisms; 
and m the French translations appeared as 
the Abb6 de Calembourg, or Calembour. 

The Julian Calendar. See JULIAN. 
The Gregorian Calendar. A modification 
of the Julian, introduced in 1582 by Pope 
Gregory XIII, and adopted in Great Britain in 
1752, This is called "the New Style." See 

The Mohammedan Calendar, used in Moslem 
countries, dates from July 16th, 622, the day 
of the Hegira (#.v.). It consists of 12 lunar 
months of 29 days 12 hours, 44 minutes each; 
consequently the Mohammedan year consists 
of only 354 or 355 days. A cycle is 30 years. 

The French Revolutionary Calendar, adopted 
on October 5th, 1793, retrospectively as from 

September 22nd, 1792, and in force in France 
till January 1st, 1806, consisted of 12 months 
of 30 days each, with 5 intercalary days, called 
Sansculotides (<?.v.) at the end. It was devised 
by Gilbert Romme (1750-95), the names of the 
months having been given by the poet, Fabre 
d'Eglantine (1755-94). 

The Newgate Calendar. See NEWGATE. 
Calender. The Persian galandar, a member of 
a begging order of dervishes, founded in the 
13th century by Qalandar Yusuf al-Andalusi, 
a native of Spain, who, being dismissed from 
another order, founded one of his own, with 
the obligation on its members of perpetual 
wandering. This feature has made the 
calenders prominent m Eastern romance; the 
story of the Three Calenders in the Arabian 
Nights is well known. 

Calends. The first day of the Roman month. 
Varro says the term originated in the practice 
of calling together or assembling the people 
on the first day of the month, when the pon- 
tifex informed them of the time of the new 
moon, the day of the nones, with the festivals 
and sacred days to be observed. The custom 
continued till A.U.C. 450, when the fasti or 
calendar was posted in public places. See 

Calepin, A. (kaT e pin). A dictionary. (Ital. 
calepino.} Ambrosio Calepino, of Calepio, in 
Italy, was the author of a famous Latin 
dictionary (1502), so that "my Calepin" was 
used in earlier days as my Euclid, my Liddell 
and Scott, according to Cocker, etc., became 
common later. Generally called Calepin, but 
the subjoined quotation throws the accent on 
the le. 

Whom do you prefer 
For the best linguist? And I sillily 
Said that I thought Calepine's Dictionary. 
DONNE: Fourth Satire. 

Calf. Slang for a dolt, a "mutton-head," a 
raw, inexperienced, childish fellow. See also 

The golden calf. See GOLDEN (PHRASES). 

There are many ways of dressing a calf's head. 
Many ways of saying or doing a foolish thing; 
a simpleton has many ways of showing his 
folly; or, generally, if one way won't do we 
must try another. The allusion is to the 
banquets of the Calves' Head Club (#.v.). 

To eat the calf in the cow's belly. To be 
over-ready to anticipate; to count one's 
chickens before they are hatched. 

To kill the fatted calf. To welcome with 
the best of everything. The phrase is taken 
from the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 
xv, 30). 

Calf-love. Youthful fancy, immature love 
as opposed to a lasting attachment. 

" It's a girl's fancy just, a kind of calf-love." 

Mrs. GASKELL: Sylvia's Loveis. 

Calf-skin. Fools and jesters used to wear 
a calf-skin coat buttoned down the back. In 
allusion to this custom, Faulconbridge says 
insolently to the Archduke of Austria, who had 
acted most basely to Richard Coeur-de-Lion : 
Thou wear a lion's hide! Doff it, for shame, 
And hang a calf-skin on those recreant limbs. 
SHAKESPEARE: King John, in, 1. 




Caliban (kal' i ban). Rude, uncouth, un- 
known. The allusion is to Shakespeare's 
Caliban (The Tempest}, the deformed, half- 
human son of a devil and a witch, slave to 
Prospero. In this character it has been said 
that Shakespeare had not only invented a 
new creation, but also a new language. 

Coleridge says, ** In him [Caliban], as in some brute 
animals, this advance to the intellectual faculties, 
without the moral sense, is marked by the appearance 
of vice." 

Caliburn (kaT i bern). Same as Excahbur, 
King Arthur's well-known sword. 

Onward Arthur paced, with hand 

On Cahburn's resistless brand, 

SCOTT: Bridal of Triermaln. 

Calico. So called from Calicut, in Malabar, 
once the great emporium of Hindustan and, 
next to Goa, the chief port for trade with 

Calidore, Sir (kaT i dor). In Spenser's Faerie 
Queene (Bk. vi) the type of courtesy, and the 
lover of "fair Pastorella." He is described 
as the most courteous of all knights, and is 
entitled the "all-beloved"; he typifies Sir 
Philip Sidney or the Earl of Essex. 

Caligula (ka lig' u la). Roman emperor (A.D. 
37-41); so called because, when he was with 
the army as a boy, he wore a military sandal 
called a cahga, which had no upper leather, 
and was used only by the common soldiers. 

Caligula was a voluptuous brute whose 
cruelty and excesses amounted almost to 
madness. Hence Horace Walpole coined the 
word Caliguhsm. Speaking of Frederick, 
Prince of Wales, he says : 
Alas! it would be endless to tell you all his Cali- 
gulisms. Letter to France^ November 29th, 1745. 

Caligula's horse. Incitatus. It was made 
a priest and consul, had a manger of ivory, and 
drank wine from a golden goblet. 

Calipash and Calipee (kalipash', kalipe'). 
These are apparently fancy terms (though the 
former may come from the word Carapace) to 
describe choice portions of the turtle. Cali- 
pash is the fatty, dull-greenish substance 
belonging to the upper shield; calipee is the 
light-yellow, fatty stuff belonging to the lower 
shield. Only epicures and aldermen can tell 
the difference. 

Cut off the bottom shell, then cut off the meat that 
grows to it (which is the callepy or fowl). 

Mrs. RAJTALD: English Housekeeping (1769). 

Caliph (ka' lif). A title given to the successors 
of Mohammed (Arab. Khalifah, a successor; 
khalafa, to succeed). .Among the Saracens a 
caliph is one vested with supreme dignity. 
The caliphate of Bagdad reached its highest 
splendour under Haroun al-Raschid, in the 
9th century. For the last 200 years the 
appellation has been swallowed up in the titles 
of Shah, Sultan, Emir, etc. The last Sultan 
of Turkey claimed the title in a vain attempt 
to impose his authority on all Moslem lands; 
it is still used of rulers of Mohammedan States 
in their capacity as successors of Mohammed. 

Calisto and Areas (ka lis' to, ar' kas). Calisto 
was an Arcadian nymph metamorphosed into 
a she-bear by Jupiter. Her son Areas having 

met her in the chase, would have killed her, 
but Jupiter converted him into a he-bear, and 
placed them both in the heavens, where they 
are recognized as the Great and Little Bear. 

Calixtines (ka liks' tinz). A religious sect of 
Bohemians in the 15th century; so called from 
Calix (the chalice), which they insisted should 
be given to the laity in the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper, as well as the bread or wafer. 
They were also called Utraquists (q.v.). 

Call. A "divine" summons or invitation, 
as "a call to the ministry." 

A curtain call. An invitation to an actor 
to appear before the curtain, and receive the 
applause of the audience. 

A call bird. A bird trained as a decoy. 

A call-boy. A boy employed in theatres to 
"call" or summon actors, when it is time for 
them to make their appearance on the stage. 

A call-box. A public telephone booth. 

Call day, or call night. The name given at 
the Inns of Court to the dates on which 
students are called to the Bar. 

A call of the House. An imperative sum- 
mons sent to every Member of Parliament to 
attend. This is done when the sense of the 
whole House is required. 

A call on shareholders. A demand to pay 
the balance of money due for shares allotted 
in a company, or a part thereof. 

A call to the Bar. The admission of a law 
student to the privileges of a barrister. See 

A call to the pastorate. An invitation to a 
minister by the members of a Presbyterian or 
Nonconformist church to preside over a 
certain congregation. 

Payable at call. To be paid on demand. 

The call of Abraham. The invitation or 
command of God to Abraham, to leave his 
idolatrous country, under the promise of 
becoming the father of a great nation. 

The call of God. An invitation, exhortation, 
or warning, by the dispensations of Providence 
(Isa. xxii, 12); divine influence on the mind to 
do or avoid something (Heb. iii, 1). 

To call. To invite: as, the trumpet calls. 
If honour calls, where'er she points the way, 
The sons of honour follow and obey. 

CHURCHILL: The Farewell. 

In U.S.A. to call means somewhat ambigu- 
ously *'to telephone." "He called me" may 
mean "he summoned me" or "he telephoned 

To call (a man) out. To challenge him; to 
appeal to a man's honour to come forth and 
fight a duel. 

To call God to witness. To declare solemnly 
that what one states is true. 

To call in question. To doubt the truth of a 
statement; to challenge the truth of a state- 
ment. "/ dubium vocare" 

To call over the coals. See COALS. 

To call to account. To demand an explana- 
tion; to reprove. 



Calvary clover 

To be called (or sent) to one's account. To 

be removed by death. To be called to the 
judgment seat of God to give an account of 
one's deeds, whether they be good, or whether 
they be evil. . 

Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, 
Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled; 
No reckoning made, but sent to my account 
With all my imperfections on my head; 
O horrible! O horrible! most horrible. 

SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, i, 5. 

To call to arms. To summon to prepare for 
battle. "Ad arma vocare" 
To call to mind. To recollect, to remember. 

Caller Herrings. Fresh herrings. The adjec- 
tive is also applied m Scotland to fresh air, 
water, etc. 

Calligraphy. The art of handwriting. The 
finest calligraphy in western civilization is the 
Canceller esca Corsiva or Cursive Chancellery 
hand used by the Apostolic Secretaries in the 
15th century, the hand on which italic type is 
based. To-day it is applied generally to the 
art of the scribe preparing manuscripts such 
as rolls of honour or professional presenta- 
tions. A handwriting which is based on a 
good model and has any artistic pretentions is 
called a calligraphic hand. 
Calliope (kall'opi) (Gr., beautiful voice). 
Chief of the nine Muses (<?.v.) ; the muse of 
epic or heroic poetry, and of poetic inspiration 
and eloquence. Her emblems are a stylus and 
wax tablets. 

The word is also applied to a steam-organ 
composed of steam-whistles making a raucous 

Callippic Period (ka lip' ik). An intended cor- 
rection of the Metonic Cycle (q.v.} by Callip- 
pus, the Greek astronomer of the 4th century 
B.C. To remedy the defect in the Metonic 
Cycle Callippus quadrupled the period cf 
Meton, making his Cycle one of seventy-six 
years, and deducted a day at the end of it, by 
which means he calculated that the new and 
full moons would be brought round to the 
same day and hour. His calculation, however, 
is not absolutely accurate, as there is one whole 
day lost every 553 years. 

Callirrhoe (ka lir' 6 i). The lover of Chaereas, 
in Chariton's Greek romance entitled the 
Loves of Chcereas and Callirrhoe, probably 
written in the 6th century A.D. 

Calomel (kaT 6 mel). Hooper says: 

This name, which means " beautiful black, 
was originally given to the ^thiop's mineral, 
or black sulphuret of mercury. It was 
afterwards applied in joke by Sir Theodore 
Mayerne to the chloride of mercury, in honour 
of a favourite negro servant whom he employed 
to prepare it. As calomel is a white powder, 
the name is merely a jocular misnomer. 

Calotte (ka lot 7 ) (Fr.). Regime de la calotte. 
Administration of government by ecclesiastics. 
The calotte is the small skull-cap worn over 
the tonsure. 

Regiment de la Calotte. A society of witty 
and satirical men in the reign of LQUIS XIV. 
When any public character made himself 

ridiculous, a calotte was 'sent to him to "cover 
the bald or brainless part of his noddle." 

Caloyers (kalo'yerz). Monks in the Greek 
Church, who follow the rule of St. Basil. They 
are divided into cenobites, who recite the offices 
from midnight to sunrise; anchorites, who live 
in hermitages; and recluses, who shut them- 
selves up in caverns and live on alms. (Gr. 
KaXos and yepcw, beautiful old man). 

Calpe (kaT pi). Gibraltar, one of the Pillars 
of Hercules, the other, the opposite promon- 
tory in Africa (mod. Jebel Musa, or Apes* 
Hill), being anciently called Abyla. According 
to one account, these two were originally one 
mountain, which Hercules tore asunder; but 
some say he piled up each mountain separately, 
and poured the sea between them. 

The pack of hounds introduced into the 
Peninsula by Wellington's officers is the Calpe 

Calumet (kal' u met). This name for ^ the 
tobacco-pipe of the North American Indians, 
used as a symbol of peace and amity, is the 
Norman form of Fr. chalumeau (from Lat. 
calamus, a reed), and was given by the French- 
Canadians to certain plants used by the natives 
as pipe-stems, and hence to the pipe itself. 

The calumet, or "pipe of peace," is about 
two and a half feet long, the bowl is made of 
highly polished red marble, and the stem is a 
reed, which is decorated with eagles* quills, 
women's hair, and so on. 

To present the calumet to a stranger is a 
mark of hospitality and goodwill; to refuse 
the offer is an act of hostile defiance. 
Giche Manito, the mighty, 
Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe 
As a signal to the nations. 

LONGFELLOW: Hiawatha, i. 

Calvary. The Latin translation of the Gr. 
golgotha (#.v.), which is a transliteration of the 
Hebrew word for "a skull." The name givea 
to the place of our Lord's crucifixion. Legend 
has it that the skull of Adam was preserved 
here, but the name is probably due to some 
real or fancied resemblance in the configura- 
tion of the ground to the shape of a skull. 

The actual site of Calvary has not been 
determined, though there is strong evidence in. 
favour of the traditional site, which is occupied 
by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. ^ An- 
other position which has strong claims is an 
eminence above the grotto of Jeremiah, out- 
side the present wall and not far from the 
Damascus Gate on the north side of Jerusalem. 

A Calvary. A representation of the suc- 
cessive scenes of the Passion of Christ in a 
series of pictures, etc., in a church. The shrine 
containing the representations. 

A Calvary cross. A Latin cross mounted 
on three steps (or grises). 

Calvary clover. A common trefoil, Medi- 
cago echinus, said to have sprung up in the 
track made by Pilate when he went to the 
cross to see his "title affixed" (Jesus of 
Nazareth, king of the Jews). Each of the 
three leaves has a little carmine spot in the 
centre; in the daytime they form a sort of 
cross; and in the flowering season the plant 

Calvert's Entire 


Cambridge Apostles 

bears a little yellow flower, like a "crown of 
thorns." Julian tells us that each of the 
three leaves had in his time a white cross m the 
centre, and that the centre cross lasts visible 
longer than the others. 

Calvert's Entire. The 14th Foot, now called 
the Prmce of Wales's Own (West Yorks. 
Regiment). Called from their colonel, Gen- 
eral Sir Harry Calvert (1763-1826) of a well- 
known family of brewers, and entire, because 
three entire battalions were kept up for the 
good of Sir Harry, when adjutant-general. 

Calves. The inhabitants of the Isle of Wight 
were sometimes so called from a tradition that 
a calf once got its head firmly wedged in a 
wooden pale, and, instead of breaking up the 
pale, the farm-man cut off the calf's head. 

His calves are gone to grass. Said of a 
spindle-legged man. And another mocking 
taunt is, "Veal will be dear, because there are 
no calves." 

Calves' Head Club. Instituted in ridicule 
of Charles I, and apparently first mentioned in 
a tract (given in the Harleian Miscellany) of 
1703 by Benjamin Bridgwater, stating that it 
first met in 1693. It lasted till about 1735. 
The annual banquet was held on January 30th, 
and consisted of calves' heads dressed in 
sundry ways to represent Charles and his 
courtiers; a cod's head, to represent Charles, 
independent of his kingly office; a pike with 
little ones in its mouth, an emblem of tyranny; 
a boar's head with an apple in its mouth to 
represent the king preying on his subjects, etc. 
After the banquet, the Icon Basilike was burnt, 
and the parting cup "To those worthy 
patriots who killed the tyrant," was drunk. 

Calvinism. One of the sternest and most 
uncompromising sects of Christianity, and a 
joyless seriousness is often to be found among 
thpse who follow its tenets. This frequently 
evinces itself m a rigid Sabbatarianism and a 
suspicion of the theatre and other forms of art. 
The five chief points of Calvinism are: 

(1) Predestination, or particular election. 

(2) Irresistible grace. 

(3) Original sin, or the total depravity of 
the natural man, which renders it morally 
impossible to believe and turn to God of his 
own free will. 

(4) Particular redemption. 

(5) Final perseverance of the saints. 

Calydon (kaT i don). In classical geography, 
a city in ^Etolia, Greece, near the forest which 
was the scene of the legendary hunt of the 
Calydonian boar (see BOAR). Also, in 
Arthurian legend, the name given to a forest 
in the northern portion of England. 

Calypso (ka lip' so). In classical mythology, 
the queen of the island Ogygia on which 
Ulysses was wrecked. She kept him there for 
seven years, and promised him perpetual 
youth and immortality if he would remain 
with her for ever, Ogygia is generally 
identified with Gozo, near Malta. 

A calypso is a type of popular song evolved 
by the Negroes of the West Indies. 

Cam and Isis. The universities of Cambridge 
and Oxford; so called from the rivers on which 
they stand. 

May you, my Cam and Isis, preach it long, 
"The right divme of kings to govern wrong." 
POPE: Dunciad, iv, 187. 

Cama. The g9d of young love in Hindu 
mythology. His wife is Rati (voluptuousness), 
and he is represented as ndmg on a sparrow* 
holding m his hand a bow of flowers and five 
arrows (i.e. the five senses). 

Over hills with peaky tops engrail'd, 

And many a tract of palm and rice. 
The throne of Indian Cama slowly sail'd 
A summer fann'd with spice. 

TENNYSON: The Palace of Art. 
Camacho (kam. a' cho). A rich but unfortu- 
nate man m one of the stories in Don Quixote 
who is cheated out of his bride just when he 
has prepared a great feast for the wedding; 
hence the phrase "Camacho's wedding'* to 
describe useless show and expenditure. 

Camargo (kamar'go). Marie-Anne Cuppi 
(1710-1770). The greatest dancer of the 18th 
century, flourished in France; from her the 
modern Society in London devoted to the 
Ballet takes its name. 

Camarilla (kam a ril' a). Spanish for a small 
chamber or cabinet; hence, a clique, a nest 
of intriguers, the confidants or private adviseis 
of the sovereign. 

Camarina. Ne moveas Camarinam (Don't 
meddle with Camarina). Camarina, a lake in 
Sicily, was a source of malaria to the in- 
habitants, who, when they consulted Apollo 
about draining it, received the reply, "Do not